Dua Abbas
Dua Abbas
Artist Bio

Dua Abbas is a visual artist and writer based in Lahore, Pakistan. She graduated from the National College of Arts in 2010 with a Distinction in Painting, and was awarded the Shakir Ali Award and Sir Percy Brown Prize for excellence in Fine Arts and History of Art. Her work has been exhibited across Pakistan and in group shows in Dubai and India. Notable shows include ‘Elegies, Effigies’ (Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore), ‘New Visions’ (Mussawir Art Gallery, Dubai), ‘Within and Without’ (Full Circle Gallery, Karachi), ‘Body of Work’ and ‘Conch Curve Creation’ (The Drawing Room Gallery, Lahore), ‘Young Blood’ (Canvas Gallery, Karachi), ‘Art – A New Approach’ (Ejaz Art Gallery, Lahore) and ‘Vast Narratives’ (Rohtas Gallery, Islamabad). Her paintings are part of private collections in France, USA, India and Canada. Dua writes regularly about art and art exhibitions for The Friday Times and ArtNow (Pakistan). She also teaches drawing and art theory at the National College of Arts, Lahore.


In some of my recent work, a desire to transform the pedestrian into the symbolic has prompted me to look at medieval religious iconography as a means of inspiration for retelling tales no one wants to hear. There is a theatricality and unintended humour in many medieval paintings that I find endearing and suited to expressing the ennui that seems to define the lives of so many girls around me – a kind of passivity, a neurosis, a pantomime that has no grandeur. Medieval art, because it seems to me to be all about grandeur, provides me with a key for presenting the mundane ceremoniously and to find cause for celebration in acts as routine as waiting for a phone call or deliberating over whether to make a phone call or not. (In this respect these works nod also to Roy Lichtenstein and his ritualising of banality.)

The diptych that is part of this show is inspired by two panels of the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck. The musical angels of the original panels have been replaced by groups of girls paused in acts far less sublime than making heavenly music. They are accompanied by some devices that have carried on from my previous body of work, such as the motif of the bumbling hero and the use of a secondary visual narrative to depict that. The speech scrolls (serving more as thought bubbles than revelatory documents) carry bits of original poetry that allude to the domestic apotheoses going on.

Exhibition Listing

Solo Exhibitions

2013                       Elegies, Effigies, Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore


Two Person Exhibitions

2013                            Melting Into Us, Unicorn Gallery, Karachi


Group Exhibitions

2013                       Beyond Borders, Experimental Art Gallery, Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Within and Without, Full Circle Gallery, Karachi

Vast Narratives, Rohtas Gallery, Islamabad

                              Art – A New Approach, Ejaz Art Gallery, Lahore


2012                       Attaining Heights, VM Gallery, Karachi

                              Indo-Pak Expo, The Drawing Room Gallery, New Delhi

                              Private Salon, Origine Fine Art, ancillary group show during India Art Fair, New Delhi


2011                       Exhibition at Launch of The Art Café (in collaboration with Ejaz Art Gallery), Lahore

                              Conch Curve Creation, the Drawing Room Gallery, Lahore

DXB Unframed, the Drawing Room Gallery, Dubai

Exhibition of Works by Graduates Awarded Distinctions,  Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq Gallery, NCA, Lahore


2010                       What Next!, Ejaz Art Gallery, Lahore

                              Body of Work, the Drawing Room Gallery, Lahore 

                              Young Blood, Canvas Art Gallery, Karachi  

                                    Emerging Talent, VM Art Gallery, Karachi 

                                    Bachelors Degree Show, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq Gallery, NCA, Lahore


2009                       Refreshed, Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore


2008                       Culture and Democracy, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq Gallery, NCA, Lahore 

                              Transformations, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq Gallery, NCA, Lahore

Media Reviews

Body of Work

The Drawing Room Gallery, Lahore


Young Blood

Canvas Gallery, Karachi


What Next!

Ejaz Gallery, Lahore


Emerging Talent

VM Gallery, Karachi


Conch Curve Creation

The Drawing Room Gallery, Lahore


Art – A New Approach

Ejaz Gallery, Lahore



Vast Narratives

Rohtas Gallery, Islamabad



Within and Without

Full Circle Gallery, Karachi



Elegies, Effigies

Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore



Melting Into Us

Unicorn Gallery, Karachi



View All Work - Dua Abbas