Viewing Mariam Saeedullah’s work, one is transported to a colourful world of the artist’s imagination. Painting in the style she created melding Mughal miniature work with Japanese Sumi-e, the artist shows a series that is truly her own. The evolution of miniature painting that spanned the centuries of Mughal rule began with the influence of Persia on Emperor Babar. Each succeeding ruler influenced the style of work in manuscripts and paintings, though much of the collection of treasure pieces was lost with the passage of time. In Pakistan, the old masters Haji Muhammad Sharif and Sheikh Shujaullah retraced history in their work, and with the opening of art institutes in Lahore, a study of work began. This eventually led to the National College of Art, Lahore, being the only existing international art school where students may study for a degree in miniature painting. Distinguished artist Mariam Saeedullah, who studied art in several countries of the world, began her vocation with Sheikh Ahmed in Lahore in the 1950s. There, as a young wife, she took the opportunity to visit the historic architectural splendours of the city. She was particularly enthralled by the work of Mughal artists that had illustrated the rich culture of the dynasty on tiles decorating the Lahore Fort. She greatly admired the work of Haji Muhammad Sharif who was at that time teaching miniature painting at the Punjab University, and as Professor Anna Molka Ahmed explained, in order to keep the art alive, the artist would paint from historic miniatures. Mariam was moved by this endeavour, and she began to quietly follow his example. Her diverse experience of art began with her husband’s career with the foreign office. With postings to Germany, Italy, the UK and Japan, she raised her family and at the same studied the art, history and traditions of each country. In Japan she took admission in an art institution that held evening classes, and studied the art of Sumi-e which she found totally absorbing. Mariam was taught to use colour chemicals and dye together and to steam them into fabric so that the colours became fixed to the cloth. She completed the course in three years and passed her finals with a distinction. On graduating, she was presented with a red seal, to sign her work as was customary and she was given the name Tranquility. Years later, it is fascinating to view the work of the artist in Mughal miniature style on fabric, often with the Sumi-e tradition of using three colours on a brush at one time and keeping them separated. One stroke brings the colour together on the material with dramatic effect. The artist’s work has been exhibited in London, Dublin, Germany, Barcelona, Houston and Japan to appreciative audiences. On her return to Pakistan, she began to paint on large panels of raw silk and referred to the elephants, horses, and camels as homage to the tiles of the Lahore Fort. The international hotels established in the country were keen to acquire the work and for years she was extremely busy. One discovered gracing the walls were landscapes from the rage of the Mughals, with colourful birds painted in Japanese style, and series of large landscapes of galloping horses across the plains. Mariam’s latest exhibition of paintings is worked on a textured surface of a smaller scale. The artist is now happier working while seated with her work on her lap and happily recreating the colour, beauty and magnificence of a bygone era. The style, subject matter and media she prefers creates art that is totally individual. It portrays successful melding of the diverse cultures and viewpoint of the artist linked to her life experience, yet related to a wider world of art.