Friday, July 17, 2009

Do Masterpieces Reflect The Eternal Anguish Of Human Soul?

I have been brought up watching art , great Pakistani artist Sadequian, Guljee, Jamil Naqsh, Ali Imam, right infront of my eyes, working, sometimes talking to me, touching my heart in some subtle and yet profound way. The artist Ali Imam was the one who really gave me real perception of painting. As I would walk down to my home in Nursery, from my school, P.E.C.H.S., Ali Imam's gallery would be on way,and here was a treasure house.He was a great man and a real artist. He would show me and my sister (I was about 10 ,my sister 7) around and literally taught us to appreciate, Gulgee, Jamil Naqsh, Sadequain, Ghulam Rasool and many great painters whose art he had in his gallery. There I learnt the colorful strokes of Gulgee, the mysterious woman form of the Black Girl, the beautiful reality of Ghulam Rasool's landscapes.I even got to see many Chughtai paintings in one exhibition, where his brother was there.
I remember the great Sadequain, in my schools' big hall, where my headmistresses office was. He had almost started living on the floor and every morning after school I made it sure to spy in on him. He made some great paintings during his stay there and made it sure that usually a big exhibition was held in our college auditorium and the girls saw it first. I know his paintings as the back of my hand. When I was in 9th class he put a calligraphy exhibition at the arts council. I remember his Kohi Toor painting with Al Noor written over. I questioned him if the light of God , Noor could be expressesd or depicted in Islam and he laughed and gently patted my cheek.
These great artists had such a human side to them. This was much before this "corporitisation" of art in Pakistan.

My firsts lesssons in art were from an Oxford Encyclopedia series for children. This was a treasure trove that has given me all my passion for books, knowledge and life. My father worked for OUP back in the 50"s and he had many books , some to proof read copies and many others. I literally devoured all during my childhood, Jim Corbett taught me about the jungles and the Bengal Sunderbans and tigers. I learnt about the Burmese and the Karen dilemma from , The Karen Wakes, which I still have. I learnt the great volcanic eruption near Indonesia from Kratakowa East of Java, which I still have!
So I learnt my early art from this beautiful encyclopedia by OUP. I saw what Michealangelo did with the human form, how exact, meticulous and precise he was in depiction of the human body.
I saw the beautiful paintings on the roof and walls of the Cysteine Chapel.By the way, I saw some beautiful and rare collections of Leonardo Da Vinci prints in Windsor castle in june 2001, which the queen and prince Phillip had graciuosly opened for public viewing after the fire.
I learnt the difference between Manet and Monet. I learnt to admire Turner, Carpenter and Rembrandt. I appreciated impressionism, surrealism,realism,modern art. I learnt the difference between Picasso , Gaugin and Cezanne.
All this quiet infusion was happening in childhood.
As I grew older I formed my tastes and now I find Degas tops the list of my favorites!
I love his strokes, colors almost real into scenes, picturisque depiction of the girls and people.I find his paintings amazing!
I have also great admiration for Guagin in his deep colors, forms and shapes. Fascinating!
Then of course Picasso,masterpieces of modern art, like no other.
Fransisco Goya is in my view one of the gretest painters of all times. His amazing human expresssions and depiction of facial expressions is almost like the modern cartoon or caricature form! I think he was ahead of his times in this . Modern caricature is like Goya's faces. It seems that he has captured the full expression in a single snapshot caricature! I do not understand why there has been no reasearch and critique on this. He expresses the agony of the soul and of human living so poignantly. It seems I am sucked into the time, the situation almost wholly!
In the modern day context and what we are going today in Pakistan, if Goya was here to paint he would capture the agony of all our existence and the pain of all our souls, eternally in his works!


  1. after reading all this i feel like i havent yet learn a single thing..ooh Allah still had to go through too many things in life..i mean like too many things to learn ahead as human being and as an artist too :)
    thanks for writing such a beautiful post :)

  2. Some how I feel so connected to you. I am greatful that you read my posts so diligently. Iam thankful to Allah for blessing me with sight and abrain to appreciate and understand so many of His bounties only He can bestow upon us lowly ones!Everyone is unique and his/her connection to natuer, arts , literature is different. This is the reason I believe we are created in so many different types, clans, races. I believe in diversity, freedom of thought and expression and only because Allah willed in this way that he created us. That is why we are humans, not animals. I hate dogma and rigidity.Each human is beautiful, even convicts,prostitutes ,drug addicts, see the nature beneath surface and you will find the beauty,outer facade is fake. That is true art all about. That is why Goya is great, ahead of his times.He expressed the inner anguish and beauty like no other.Keep looking for truth we will eventually find the great artist in you. find your own truth and you will be a great artist, atrue human.

  3. you welcome :) and i m very very happy to have you in my life as i have a great chance to know the wisdom that you have gained in your life :)

    mAy Allah bless you :)