9 narratives: Stories of an artisan’s world

Published 07 Oct, 2015 09:04am
— Photos by Ishaque Chaudhry
— Photos by Ishaque Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Gallery 6, in an exhibition titled ‘9 narratives’ brought together the works of nine painters in a beautiful combination of both realism and surrealism at once.

The exhibition opened to the public on Tuesday and featured the works of A.S. Rind, Abrar Ahmed and Akbar Hafeez from Karachi; Arjumand Faisel, Hajra Mansoor and Shahla Rafi from Islamabad; Mughees Riaz from Lahore, Irshad Salim from the US and an emerging artist Zakir Baloch from Quetta.

A.S. Rind has been known for his distinct figurative work in which he reflects the faces and moods of women, his subjects decked in elegant, traditional jewellery.

Last year Gallery 6 had introduced what turned out to be a very unusual series by the painter. The applause he received encouraged the artist and gallery visitors on Tuesday got to see even bolder artwork.

His work was characterised by vibrant, bold strokes and was full of energy. He was communicating his emotions through a new vocabulary of expressions, giving his moods and thoughts bold, new compositions.

Abrar Ahmed’s paintings of women, on the other hand, signify romance and beauty. He impresses a traditional picture of women, some with elongated necks, expressive eyes and dramatic hand gestures.

Interior and furniture designer by profession, Akbar Hafeez is a self taught painter who began painting about a decade ago, guided by his instincts and passion. The main subject of his paintings is women, mostly with long necks, in dreamy positions.

They feature very distinct cat-like eyes with greenish-yellow to golden or copper like hues. These women are often composed with birds, trees, fruit or water to enhance the vocabulary of the composition.

Displayed works by the artists at Gallery 6 — Photos by Ishaque Chaudhry
Displayed works by the artists at Gallery 6 — Photos by Ishaque Chaudhry

Arjumand Faisel has contributed four paintings from his ‘Malika Aliya Laila’ series that he still continues to paint. All are absorbing works but the one titled ‘Red light area’ is an attractive piece that shows four windows, each showing a different activity. Violent strokes and bright colours capture the intensity of happenings.

Eminent water colorist Hajra Mansoor has produced paintings in her distinguished style that creates a positive and pleasing ambiance. She derives her inspiration from the Asian ideals of beauty and focuses on promoting and enhancing them by exaggerating the features like big coloured eyes, pure skin with a tinge of pink in it, and delicate lips along with articulating hand gestures.

Shahla Rafi has been painting landscapes since the 1970s, which fall into the realm of romantic realism.

She expresses her landscapes not only through her eyes and her mind, but also through the longing of her soul with the soil. She does not idealise her subject, but grants upon it her infinite love.

According to a guest, the paintings touched the viewer at a level that was deeper than the merely visual.

“One can feel the branches and leaves moving and hear the whistling of air while passing through them,” she said

Mughees Riaz is participating in the exhibition with two different themes. Two paintings are of the river Ravi. The other is about men’s unspoken emotions that have been rarely exhibitioned.

Irshad Salim’s compositions are the creative outpourings of his limitless energies. In his work, visitors saw a complex relationship between simplification, stylization and sensitivity.

However, the dominating simplicity and spontaneity brings the touch of lyricism. The lines indicate a familiar object, except they are mostly changed in proportions, making a pictorial language of their own.

Zakir Baloch, an emerging painter from Quetta, uses a photo realistic image of a newspaper, wrapped around objects, creating an optical illusion. The shadows of the papers add a third dimension to a two-dimensional painting and make it pleasing for the human eye.

The show will run till October 14.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2015

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