Pakistani artist Khalil Chishtee makes his mark in Brooklyn

He says that he addresses complex issues through his work.


An artist from Pakistan going by the name of Khalil Chishtee is gaining popularity among art lovers in Brooklyn, New York. He resides there with his wife Ruby Chishtee, who is also an artist.

Both of them graduated from National College of Arts in Lahore. Khalil Chishtee has been tipped as one of the next great artist belonging to the subcontinent by some art experts. His work has taken social media by storm and impressed many people.

One thing that stands out in his work is his versatility. He is a figurative sculptor, painter and calligrapher.

‘’In Pakistan strange things are happening. Comedians are becoming serious commentators while serious people are becoming comedian’’ – Chishtee said in an interview with Dawn.

He is concerned and questions the difference between levity and seriousness by saying that everyone, when given authority, pretends to be a redeemer but fails to do so and damages the country’s morals even more.

‘’What I mean is that everyone who comes to power pretends to be a savior, but ends up further damaging  the country’s moral fabric’’ – he said

He said that these are the issues he addresses and comments on through his work, in his own distinctive way.

‘’I am a storyteller. One thing which fascinates me is that everyone wants to become a messiah, but no one can succeed without really going through the grind of hard work’’

‘’Whenever I work, somehow these thoughts seem to seep into my work without really trying to. These days we keep looking between the lines and always miss the forest for the trees’’ – the artist added

His upcoming project set to make him the topic of the town:

His upcoming project is a solo show at Sannat gallery, Karachi in the month of October. His future plans consist of setting up an installation at the zoo to correspond with Karachi Bienniale. His work will also feature in an exhibition in Chicago. An artist from Iran and one from Afghanistan will also display their work in the exhibition.

Chistee is of the view that art should be a way of transformation and not only decoration and diversion.  He also said that Pakistanis are paranoid and do not try to understand the view of another individual. He refuses to label himself as a specific kind of artist and says he’d like to discover all types of styles.

The artist also reflects how his life has changed since moving to the US.

‘’I was a Pakistani before coming to the US, but after coming to America I became a human being. Here, I am a part of humanity now. I don’t have just one identity.’’

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