Toor was born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1983. His community, he said, shared “pretty conservative, moral values.” He was always painting and drawing as a child, finding his friends in the art room of his macho all-boys prep school. Early on, art became a way for him to communicate.
In the early 2000s, Toor moved to the United States to attend college at Ohio Wesleyan University. He experienced major culture shock. “It was insane,” he said of his move to the Midwest. He compared his first year in the States to one of his “silent paintings,” where there’s so much going on, most of it unspoken. The canvas he referred to, Tea (2020), features a man and a woman sitting in a fenced yard, drinking tea. The starry cobalt sky glimmers above them. Toor’s far-off perspective details the potted plants on the patio steps, the white car in the driveway, and the lighted windows of the buildings beyond. Yet the central conversation remains guarded, intimate, and ambiguous in topic and tone.