Imran Mir was an artist, sculptor, designer and advertising trendsetter whose innovations shaped his persona and influenced his peers.
Mir thrived on challenges and enrolled in art school defying family and social norms. After graduating from CIAC (Central Institute of Arts and Crafts Karachi) in 1971, he left for Canada and studied at the prestigious Ontario College of Art and Design working multiple jobs to support himself. When he returned to Pakistan in 1978, Mir exhibited cutting edge art which confused art critics because they had never seen such a bold example of minimalism and modernism close up and refused to accept what they did not understand. However, as the years passed, Mir came to be acknowledged as the artist who dared to experiment with color and planar fractures, both with a temerity that not many artists could balance with grace.
This need to reject convention and reconstruct it into something dynamically extraordinary was Imran Mir’s guiding principle. It was an idea of constant evolution and change that he lived by. He chose to call his work “Papers” on modern art, considering each body of work as serious as writing a theoretical paper. Hence the First, Second, Third and so on -- till his last Twelfth Paper on Modern Art.
Imran Mir’s enthusiasm was a constant in all activities no matter how trivial or monumental -- from gardening to making installations, to creating award-winning ad campaigns or travelling or enjoying food on the streets of Karachi. Being a trailblazing designer, he shed light on the importance of a strong design aesthetic within the world of business and made it easier for graphic artists and designers that followed him to grow their field. In fact, he set up the very first design unit for a leading publication house, winning the INPA (International Newspaper Publication) awards while he worked there. Among other acclaims he has been dubbed the premiere design guru of Pakistan.
Along with a group of like-minded artists and architects, Mir was the moving spirit behind the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi and was one of its founder members. Imran was also involved in an effort to set up the first Museum of Modern Art in Pakistan. He was actively involved in establishing The Citizens Foundation among other philanthropies. Along side his passions he has also been responsible in building some of the most iconic Pakistani brands we know and use today: MCB, Habib Oils, Meezan Bank, IGI Insurance, Dawn News, Shan Masala, Tapal Tea, One Potato Two Potato, Meat One, The News, among many others.