Images and motifs from the Indus and Gandhara civilizations, Mughal and Pahari School, calligraphy, and other indigenous cultural influences are a rich source of inspiration for painting in Pakistan. The tradition of painting in the region goes back to antiquity. Various schools of paintings have followed one another, from the Buddhist frescoes, through the paintings of Sultanate Period, the Mughal school to the Pahari,

the Sikh, and finally the British Raj. In the sub-continent, new artistic forms introduced by each new successive ruler merged with existing artistic traditions and created a distinct legacy. The modern Pakistani painting is a product of these multiple cultural identities that have led to an original vision of modernity.

In the last fifty years, there are two dominant themes emerging in Pakistani art: the feminine mystique and landscape and the frontier. The mystique of the South-Asian woman has been inspiration for the fantastical depiction of exotic women as exemplified by Saeed Akhtar. This motif has also been taken by contemporary feminist painters, Naheed Raza and Meher Afroz, who examine the question of women’s identity in reference to the private sphere they inhabit as well as the attitudes of society. Finally, Iqbal Husain, raised himself in the red-light district of Lahore, depicts the invisible, harsh lives of prostitutes, the Pakistani underworld, and the hypocrisies of society.

Identification with local landscape is another source of inspiration for contemporary artists. The Pakistani landscape provides a rich palate comprising of spectacular mountains, lush river valleys, and stark deserts. Kaleem Khan, a Balochi painter, depicts desolate, mountainous landscapes with isolated dwellings. His depiction of this vast landscape, however, is from a first-person point of view humanizing the desolate scenery.

Royaat translated, literally, from Arabic as a place of beauty seen by many is an independent gallery founded with the participation of the principal Pakistani artists and art critics. Royaat was founded to create large-scale awareness and appreciation for the diversity of talent in Pakistan.
Royaat Gallery works towards

  • promoting the finest quality Pakistani art, dealing in paintings, sculpture, glass, and ceramics through innovative exhibitions of the gallery’s permanent collection and borrowed works following the highest standards of scholarship, installation, and interaction with the public;
  • facilitating to transfer ideas between contemporary masters and the emerging talent;
  • providing visual and intellectual evidence of Pakistan’s creative potential, creating a link between artists, domestic, and international markets.