Artist in Focus: R.M. Naeem

Born in 1968, Mirpurkhas, Pakistan, R.M. Naeem graduated in Fine Arts with distinction from National College of Arts, Lahore in 1993. Since 1994, Naeem has been part of the permanent faculty as an Assistant Professor at the illustrious institution and has recently become an Associate there.


R.M. Naeem

Art practice

The mediums and subject matters addressed in my art inevitably change side by side with my personal experiences and the political atmosphere. Every time I decide to show any of my concerns through any medium, I feel the need to filter it so that all that remains of it, is positive. I use a simple narrative to represent the concerns I extract from my surroundings, which enables me to connect with my viewers, this connection between the viewer and the art is what I consider to be the completion of my artwork.


KB19 work

For KB19, my work is a symbolic representation of the shortcomings, suffering and political turmoil the public of Sindh has gone through for the past three decades. I believe the root of these problems is found within ourselves, and we ourselves are to blame for this. I want to bring a sense of realisation by bringing this issue in front of the public through my site-specific installation.


In Bin Qasim Park, Karachi, I am going to place 99 heads, life-size, resembling a sort of flowing carpet. The bodies will resemble chillies, red and green, but each day the green chillies will be replaced by more red chillies, till the end of the Biennale when the entire display comprises the heads with red chillies

A preview of Naeem's work for KB19


Previous work: In the past 26 years, R.M. Naeem has held 16 solo shows both in Pakistan and abroad and curated various important shows of local and international artists and biennales in Bangladesh, Korea, Malaysia, France, India, Australia. Countries in which his work has been exhibited include Sri Lanka, India, Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Paris, USA, UK, Germany, Norway and Canada.


As a participant in various juried art residences, Naeem has attended various art camps and residencies abroad over the course of his career. He has also conducted a number of art workshops in Pakistan and abroad. In 2015, he was selected by the Embassy of China to experience Chinese art and culture, and represent and promote Pakistani art and art education in six cities of China. He represented Pakistan in New York at New Pathways, Contemporary Art from Pakistan, curated by Tanzara Art Gallery and organised by Pakistan's Permanent Mission to the United Nations. Since 1994, he has been promoting art through education at his studio, Studio RM. In 2008, he initiated the Studio RM (International) Residency Program in Lahore, Pakistan. He was invited for Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility staff teaching week at Middlesex University, London in 2018.


R.M. Naeem’s work has garnered several scholarships, awards and prizes in Pakistan, including the provincial Best Painter Award 1991 and 1992, first prize for 'Best Short-Short Film' category at the Punjab Film Festival, 2014, Lahore, shortlisting at the Summer Film Festival 2014, Mainz, and Kunsthalle, Mainz, 2014, and the National Award of Excellence, 2003. His work can be seen in various private and official collections and has been featured in both local and international art publications. Naeem lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan.