Anna Molka Ahmed (13 August 1917 – 20 April 1994) was a Pakistani artist and a pioneer of fine arts in the country after its independence in 1947. She was a professor of fine arts at the University of the Punjab in Lahore.
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Anna Molka Ahmed was born Molly Bridger to Jewish parents, in London, England. Her mother was Polish and father was Russian. She converted to Islam at the age of 18 in 1935, before marrying Sheikh Ahmed in October 1939, who was then studying in London. She studied painting, sculpture and design at St. Martin School of Arts in London, and received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Art.
Ahmed moved to Lahore in 1940 and, besides painting, taught fine art 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, Anna divorced her husband, but remained in Pakistan with her two daughters until her death on 24 April 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.”
AWARDS AND HONORS
Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence) (1963) by the Government of Pakistan for her services in the field of fine arts education
- Pride of Performance Award in 1979 by the President of Pakistan.
- Khudeja Tul Kubra Medal
On 14 August 2006, Pakistan Post issued a Rs. 40 sheetlet of stamps to posthumously honour ten Pakistani painters. Besides Anna Molka Ahmed, the other nine painters were: Laila Shahzada, Askari Mian Irani, Sadequain, Ali Imam, Shakir Ali, Zahoor ul Akhlaq, Zubeida Agha, Ahmed Pervez and Bashir Mirza.
On 1 June 2020, Google celebrated her with a Google Doodle.