Jamil Naqsh was born in 1938 in Kariana in Uttar Pradesh, India, and moved to Karachi, Pakistan following the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. In 1953, he enrolled at the National College of Arts (then Mayo College) in Lahore, but did not complete his education there, leaving after two years to study art on his own.
Naqsh, an independent spirit, found he had to discover a visual idiom for himself that could not be bound by any academic dictates, for he believed that experience and not qualification was important to be an artist. Thus, he began his self-education by undergoing rigorous training in various styles of miniature painting under the watchful eye of Ustad Mohammad Sharif to understand the aesthetics and principles of art. Though his style of painting does not directly reflect these miniature traditions, their emphasis on the dominance of line became integral in his work regardless of the style or subject. Naqsh’s work has been exhibited extensively in Pakistan, India, UK and UAE. In 2009, Naqsh was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, and in 2003, a retrospective of his work was held at the Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi, a rare honour for a living artist. Naqsh lives and works in London, and is considered to be the best known, living modern master from Pakistan.