Prof Anna Molka Ahmed (1917 – 1994) was a famous Pakistani artist and pioneer of fine arts in the newly born Pakistan in 1947. She was a professor of fine arts at the University of the Punjab in Lahore. She was among the pioneers of women artists in Pakistan and had been a long-time director and moving spirit behind the Fine Arts Department of the Punjab University, Lahore – the first institution that was opened to the women artists in Pakistan.
“In fact she has been the facilitator of a movement that made the proactive role of women artists a possibility“. writes Nilofur Farrukh (president of International Art Critics Association, Pakistan Section). It is because of trendsetters like her that the feminist art in Pakistan is gaining strength away from traditional gender discriminatory dominance. In fact these days we are witnessing a gradual dismantling of social and gender classifications. Well this has not been easy, since a lot of women had to struggle hard to bring women atop many a prestigious positions – above men, Ana Molka Ahmed is one such women.
Anna Molka Ahmed was born Molly Bridger to Jewish parents, in London, England. Her mother was Polish and father was a Russian.She converted to Islam at the age of 18 in 1935, before marrying Sheikh Ahmed in October 1939, who was currently studying in London at the time.She studied painting, sculpture and design at St. Martin School of Arts, London, and received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Art. They moved to Lahore in 1940, besides painting, Ahmed taught fine arts at the University of the Punjab. Professor Emeritus Anna Molka Ahmed set up the Department of Fine Arts now called the College of Arts and Design at the University of the Punjab, which she headed until 1978. In 1951, Ahmed divorced her husband, but remained in Pakistan with her two daughters until her death on April 24, 1994.
In her 55 year career, “she was well known as a painter of evocative landscapes, grand thematic figurative compositions and observant, insightful portraits. Her works are characterised by a signature impasto technique executed in a flamboyant, vivid palette.”
You can read more about her life and career on the links below: