Friday, December 4, 2009



Ghulam Rasool is no more with us. He died yesterday and leaves the lovers of Pakistani art and of the landscape art around the whole world in loss and grief. My first encounter with his ‘engulfing’ paintings of the Pakistani Punjab were quite some years ago.. The gallery I forget but I was simply struck by the sheer profoundness of the landscape expression, the real feel of the grass, trees, the humans, the buffalos in his paintings. Bieng a child at that time , I could only feel the novelty of the feeling and could neither categorise or explain the finesse of the painting. This experience is perhaps what gives the uniqueness to the ‘seeing’ of his painting for me.
Marcella Naom Sirhindi, a Ph.D in Asian Art history, writes in her book, Contemporary Painting In Pakistan (Ferozsons ) that Ghulam Rasool is a landscape artist of the Punjab School. ‘ Gulam Rasul’s landscapes firmly rooted in the Punjab landscape school, add dimension of human habitation in nature .In the early eighties, Ghulam Rasool’s landscapes changed from the flat, design oriented abstractions  of neatly divided glowing in the Punjabi sunlight to more detailed realistic visions of the local landscape. His Panorama Of Buffalos  is very much part of the Punjab landscape tradition and a reminder  of his realistic student day landscape under the tutelage of Khalid Iqbal at Punjab University.’ ( Khalid Iqbal , the great landscape painter is considered the founder of  this school).
She says ‘ here again is evidence of a recurring concern for veracity in imagery and colour.’ Ghulam Rasool moved from Lahore to Islamabad in 1974. Perhaps it was here that I saw his paintings first. Dr. Sarhindi says’ Ghulam’s paintings have responded to the particular moods and atmospheres that distinguish these cities.
He was at the Atelier 17 in Paris in 1984 for an year , after which he returned to Islamabad. ‘His style grew more expressive, and he became interested in relationship between man and nature .He began to to concentrate  more on  intimate village scenes, particularly at Saidpur near Islamabad.(Saidpur is a picturesque ancient village in the foothills of Margalla). In his painting ‘ Midday Rest’  ‘his brushstrokes are bolder ,…the focus is on human activity instead of trees , bushes or verdant growth.’ She further asserts that his paintings later show more individuality, freer interpretation of nature, and his human depiction in scenes of villages.
I find his transition into a more individualistic style reminiscint  of the paintings of  Degas in later years, where a play of light and shade, people, flora .foliage creates an almost surreal , eternal quality to the painting. Almost as if passing into Eternity, subtly!
You can have detail information on him at

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