Visitors were drawn to the accuracy with which he has captured specific costumes and decors in his works.
Visitors were drawn to the accuracy with which he has captured specific costumes and decors in his works.

ISLAMABAD: The Tanzara Art Gallery is hosting an art exhibition by Shakil Saigol titled Abhinaya which is based on the beauty of dances.

The curator of the show, Noshi Qadir, said the Saigol’s work is characterised by strong metaphors, imagery and intricately worked canvases and that his work exudes both boldness and fragility.

“In works like this, the artist captures fleeting emotions and ephemeral instances of his feelings with a lucidity that stems from his highly developed skill and technique,” Ms Qadir said.

Mr Saigol has been painting since he was 19.

His new body of works shows his fondness for classical dances and skill in capturing the delicate and sophisticated movements in bharatnatyum and khathak.

Saigol has depicted fractional repositioning of the foot, degrees of bodily torsion, the leaning back angles of dancer’s torsos and their lifted heads.

Visitors were drawn to the accuracy with which he has captured specific costumes and decors in his works.

“The works speak of an era, an era that is fast vanishing that can be revisited in books and perhaps in Saigol’s paintings.

“The meticulous detail about his dancers that he paints and the intricate patterns he draws reflects the opulence and richness of our culture,” said fine arts teacher Asim Akhtar, who was attending the event.

Rights activist Tahira Abdullah said Saigol brings to life south Asian art and culture while a visitor at the event, Claus Euler said he was drawn into a deep sense of being part of the music and dancing expressed in the paintings.

A painting titled The Other – Inner emotions in Sattvika Abhinaya of a woman cloistered remained popular with guests.

“You know there is a sad woman behind that shawl. The projection is exquisite,” said a visitor, Mrs Saeed Qadir.

“She seems completed shrouded in grief,” said another visitor, Tehmeena Adeeb.

Sacred Conversation was another painting that was very liked by visitors in which, amid the sober colours of a shawl, the splashes of bright yellow and vivid blues and emerald greens abound in the wings of the two birds.

Shakil Saigol described himself as a servant of the arts.

“Dance has always been an obsession of mine and music has been in my psyche for a long time,” he said at the event.

The artist also talked about his fascination with shawls.

“My wife and I have a huge collection which was handed down to us by our mothers and we go to great lengths to find exquisite shawls,” he said.

“I cannot recall a time when I was not painting. In this body of works, the jamawar shawls provide the backdrop to the surrealistic forms.

“The messages in my subjects vary but the elements which run through a range of series are consistent. In painting the human form, textiles, foliage and sculpture, my inclination towards surrealism often emerges,” he said.

The show will continue till April 11.


Originally published in Dawn, March 30th, 2018

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