Rebel Angel: In Memory of the Life and Art of Asim Butt

Thursday, April 18, 2019

On the March 26, 2019, the Gurmani Centre for Languages and Literature held a memorial in honour of the late painter and graffiti artist, Asim Butt. The event, curated by Younis B. Azeem, was organized as a panel talk. This panel, moderated by Nazish Afraz, Teaching Fellow in Economics at LUMS, comprised Khurram Hussain, Nafisa Rizvi, and Shehrbano Hussain.
The event began with a short video featuring the late artist, followed by an opening speech by Bilal Tanweer, Co-Director of the Gurmani Centre, where he thanked the panelists for their time and hoped that this would be a step towards introducing art and its appreciation at LUMS. Younis B. Azeem briefly spoke about how he had come by Asim’s art, and that the inspiration behind arranging the memorial was to introduce Asim’s art to his own generation.
Nazish started off the discussion with anecdotes about Asim, fondly recalling his free-spirit and progressive beliefs, reiterating often how he was one of the most colourful individuals she had met in her life. Khurram Hussain, who had been Asim’s professor and advisor while Asim had been studying at LUMS, revealed how he was the first student to graduate with a Social Sciences degree from LUMS, and mentioned an art piece that Asim had gifted to him—which he still had.
Nafisa Rizvi, the editor of Asim’s monograph Rebel Angel, introduced the audience to Asim’s art vis-à-vis a slideshow that displayed his paintings, sketches, and graffiti. She also spoke about the symbolic, technical, and metaphorical aspects of his works, as well as the political risks he had taken with some of his pieces, commenting on how remarkable his talent was for an artist who had been active for only a few years.

Lastly, Sherbano Hussain shared her experiences of working with Asim and how, as a fellow Stuckist, she deeply appreciated how he used figures from the real world to convey his feelings rather than turning towards abstractions as has come to be the case in the art world of recent.
The event concluded with members of the audience asking questions from the panel and those who had known him fondly recounting their stories of the late artist. The event can also be viewed in its entirety on the YouTube channel of the Gurmani Centre for Languages and Literature.