A series of Kashmir inspired paintings including new work by Raqib Shaw will be displayed at The Whitworth.  The collection will include renaissance drawings, sculptures, textiles and limited-edition wallpaper.  The exhibition will take the form of an installation, drawing on influences of renaissance and baroque imagery, combined with theatrical extravagance, nature and poetry, to echo the mythic space Shaw creates in his paintings.

The exhibition forms part of New North and South, a new network of eleven arts organisations from across the North or England and South Asia.

Who is Raqib Shaw?

Born in Calcutta and raised in Kashmir, Raqib Shaw moved to London in 1998.  Once in London, he completed his BA and MA at Central St Martins School of Art.

His work is in part inspired by fifteenth century Italian iconography.  In doing so, he uses a unique technique where pools of enamel and metallic industrial paints are manipulated to the desired effect with a porcupine quill.

Racib Shaw’s work has been exhibited internationally including MoMA New York (‘Without Boundary’), ICA London (‘Around the World in Eighty Days’) and at the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 2012.  His has had major solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Miam), Tate Britain, The Metropolitan Museum New York and Manchester Art Gallery.

What’s on display at the Raqib Shaw exhibition at the Whitworth?

The exhibition will reference the aesthetic of the East.  In addition to Raqib Shaw’s opulent paintings of fantastical worlds, sculptures and textiles, the exhibition will include a new wallpaper.  The wallpaper, designed by Shaw has been commissioned specifically for the exhibition.  It will create the backdrop for his paintsins to be displayed by.  Produced by Kit Grover Ltd, a small number of rolls will be available for sale through the gallery

Shaw’s paintings and sculptures will be complemented with historic textiles and drawings from the Whitworth’s collection.  Highlights from the collection include a 19th century gold and pink brocaded Kashmir shawl; a hand-knotted Persian hunting carpet; Indoor Gossip, Cairo, John Frederick Lewis’ oil painting; a rare engraving by Italian artist Andrea Mantegna Battle of the Tritons.  Additionally, Japanese prints and decorative silver objects will be borrowed from Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Museum.

Speaking about the exhibition, Dr Maria Balshaw, Director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery commented, “Rabiq Shaw’s magical paintings offer a highly complex, absorbing semi-autobiographical space to think through both image and issues of identity.  In this exhibition Raqib’s insightful exploration of our historic collections has created wonderful synergies between his own work and that of the Whitworth, Manchester Museum and Manchester Art Gallery’s collections.  That this first outcome of the New North and South network has been a joint curatorial project between Dhaka Art Summit and the Whitworth perfectly exemplifies the complexities of Raqib’s use of East and West iconography and our ambition for generous collaboration across the globe.”

When does the Raqib Shaw exhibition take place at the Whitworth?

The collection will be displayed at the Whitworth from 24 June 2017 until November 2018.

After its Whitworth run, the exhibition will be reimaged for the South Asian context of Bangladesh’s Dhaka Art Summit.  That exhibition will include objects from the Whitworth’s collection.

The Raqib Shaw exhibition is co-curated by Dr Maria Balshaw, Director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery.  Co-curators are Diana Campbell Betancourt, Chief Curator of Dhaka Art Summit and Artistic Director of Samdani Art Foundation and the artist as part of the New North and South network.

Image: From left to right: Raqib Shaw, Self Portrait in the Studio at Peckham (AfterSteenwyck the Younger) II, 2014-15. © Raqib Shaw. Photo: White Cube, Ben Westoby; Raqib Shaw, Untitled. © Raqib Shaw and the Whitworth, The University of Manchester.