Written by Hasan Mujtaba for Allen Ginsburg
Salman Toor was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and lives and works in New York City. Toor’s paintings vary in scale and style. His subjects range from autobiographical constructs to Art History and Pop Culture. These new paintings show surreal gatherings of people, romances and adventures in imagined homelands and scenes of conflict in places designated East and West. Toor’s life and art traverse the boundaries between these two worlds, dismantling stereotypes and seeking to broaden perceptions on both sides of the global divide. In the artist’s own words: ‘For me painting is a process of self definition, as an outsider in multiple worlds which become more and more entangled and complex.’ Historical ghosts of origin collide with scenes of leisure and repose, pointing to issues of exile, integration, and the cultural rituals that divide and unite us. At sad family dinner tables and imagined multiethnic communities, the paintings map out a space where personal and global concerns intersect. These vignettes evoke the fluid boundaries of identity and the anxieties of living in our post 9/11 world and revitalizing the potentiality of the medium of painting.