Skip to content
Bio

GHULAM MOHAMMAD

Born 1979 in Zardad, Balochistan, Pakistan.
Lives and works in Pakistan.

Ghulam Mohammad’s intricate collages of hundreds of individually cut-out Urdu alphabet letters pasted upon handcrafted wasli paper are inspired by the artist’s realization that language has the power to both unite and divide people. His own experience struggling to acquaint himself with Urdu after growing up in Baluchistan, where combinations and pronunciations of basic letters are so different, seemed to make the cultural gap between himself and the society in which he was trying to settle that much more difficult to bridge. By eschewing legibility in favor of surface texture, Mohammad’s work creates a new visual language that raises questions about absence and erasure. The artist further investigates the complexities of language by often extracting letters from disused books about the Urdu language.

Ghulam Mohammad was born in Zardad, beyond the city of Sibi in Balochistan. Upon graduating from school in Quetta, GM enrolled in drawing classes at the Baluchistan Arts Council. This was an eye-opening experience as he discovered new artistic materials: oil paints, pastels and watercolors.

Ghulam Mohammad breaks down existing, understandable text into its smallest single letters before recombining them in patterns in his collages.  He reassembles existing texts to create new arrangements – reviving and reformatting disused books into his collages. The individual letters that form his collages are cut out from old Urdu books about language. He enjoys exploring different Urdu scripts, researching the history, development and significance about the forms of calligraphic writing.