At an auction of modern and contemporary South Asian Art held at Bonham’s in London recently, a highly valued work from Arif Naqvi’s Collection, of internationally renowned artist Rashid Rana’s titled the ‘Red Carpet Series #1‘ fetched the highest price of Rs. 34.4 million (200,000 pounds sterling) among all the art works auctioned to date by Pakistani artists. The ‘Red Carpet Series #1’ is made up of thousands upon thousands of tiny images of slaughtered animals, mostly goats, formed as a mosaic.
This is not the first time that Rashid Rana’s work is sold in international auctions for such a high price. His work holds the record of the highest price ever paid (623,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York) for any work of art from Pakistan. It is ironic that Rashid Rana, who sold these works for much less prices, when he exhibited them initially at art galleries abroad, is not the beneficiary of such huge sums for his works. Despite his rise on the international arena, him and other contemporary artists in Pakistan still reside, work and contribute in multiple forms to art and society in Pakistan.
Rashid Rana emerged in the early years of this century as the leading figure of an entirely new kind of art from Pakistan. Recognised for his ideas, imagery and pictorial strategies, Rashid Rana has worked in distinctly different modes, such as paintings, stainless steel sculptures, video installation, photo-sculptures and photo mosaics.