A selection of colorful mixed-media paintings by Ambreen Butt, recipient of the 2006 Maud Morgan prize, is on view in the Museum’s Lower Rotunda through Dec 10.
A native of Lahore, Pakistan, Butt attended the National College of Art where she studied Indian and Persian miniature painting, becoming well-versed in the precise technique, saturated colors, and storytelling tradition of Mughal era (1526–1857) painting. Miniature painting was once a common and cherished art form, but it has become extremely rare in recent years. Butt brings a unique, female, and contemporary perspective to this ancient art form historically practiced by men.
In 1993 Butt moved to the United States to attend the Massachusetts College of Art (earning her MFA in painting in 1997). It was during those years that she became familiar with Western art styles and movements, including minimalism and conceptualism, and began to fuse the two approaches to explore her bicultural identity and Western and Islamic cultural paradoxes and tensions. As a result, her subject matter is intensely personal but also universal.
The prize, given by the MFA to a Massachusetts woman artist, celebrates the spirit of adventure and independence embodied by noted New England artist Maud Morgan (1903–1999). As the recipient of the Maud Morgan prize, Butt will receive $5,000 for the purchase of one of her paintings to be added to the Museum’s contemporary art collection.