Anwar Jalal Shemza, 'Chessmen One' 1961
Tate Britain

BP Spotlight Anwar Shemza 12 October 2015 – Autumn 2016

Main Floor
Anwar Jalal Shemza, Chessmen One 1961. © The estate of Anwar Jalal Shemza

Explore important works by Pakistani painter Anwar Jalal Shemza

Anwar Jalal Shemza (1928–85) moved to London in 1956, leaving an established career as a writer and painter in Lahore, Pakistan.  His last series of work directly related to notions of belonging in the Pakistani diaspora.

In Britain, Shemza abandoned his illustrative and figurative approach and developed vigorous compositions that fused calligraphy and aspects of Islamic architecture with Western abstraction. He repeatedly revisited subjects, including the walls and gates of Lahore, the Arabic letter ‘Meem’, and plant roots.

Curated by Leyla Fakhr and Carmen Juliá.


Tate Britain
Plan your visit

Art in this room

Anwar Jalal Shemza Meem Two


Anwar Jalal Shemza Roots Two


Anwar Jalal Shemza Chessmen One


Anwar Jalal Shemza Roots One


All rooms in this display

Related events

Tate Britain Workshop

Audio description workshop: Anwar Shemza

20 Jun 2016

Gain a deeper understanding of Anwar Shemza’s work and process