Abdur Rahman Chughtai evolved a new style of painting in Lahore and led a group of artists known as the Lahore Orientalists who attempted to formulate their own version of a 'National' art style. Chughtai fused influences from diverse fields to forge a unique brand of modernism infused with symbolic elements that had roots in the classical Islamic and Indian traditions. His intense yet lyrical paintings portrayed icons from literature and history, characters from beloved Punjabi folk tales as well as Hindu and Buddhist mythological themes. Beyond miniature painting, Chughtai found inspiration in a variety of sources including Japanese prints, Art Nouveau graphics, and the mystical Persian love poetry of Omar Khayyam. Whilst at the time of Independence Chughtai was considered one of India's greatest artists, after Partition he became known as Pakistan's national artist and today has a unique position of being celebrated all over South Asia.
Born into to a family of architects, decorators and craftsmen in Lahore, Chughtai was particularly interested in the revival of Mughal aesthetics, as can be seen in his fine use of delicate line and rich colour. In the current work, Chughtai depicts a pair of pigeons in a desert-like landscape. According to Islamic tradition, pigeons are viewed as sacred due to the protection they provided the Prophet Mohammed whilst he sought shelter in the cave of Hira.