Noon Wal Qalam Calligraphy
Khursheed Gohar Kalam
Ali Asad Naqvi
Satrang Art Gallery
The Serena Hotel,
Islamabad – Pakistan.
Coinciding with the spirit of Ramazan and the 60th anniversary of the Egyptian National Day, a soul-stirring exhibition of calligraphic masterpieces by eminent names practicing one of the world’s oldest art forms embedded in Islamic traditions, opened at Satrang Gallery late Tuesday night.
The exhibition is a joint initiative of Satrang and the Embassy of Egypt, and features the work of Ahmed Khan, Rasheed Butt, Saeed Akhtar, Amin Gulgee, Khursheed Gohar Qalam, Arif Khan, Mussarat Arif, Shahzad Zar, Ali Asad Naqvi and Bin Qulander. The show’s title ‘Noon Wal Qalam’ was suggested and illustrated by Khursheed Gohar Qalam. It is the beginning of Surah Qalam of the Qura’an and translates to ‘Noon. By the pen,’ stressing the importance of gaining knowledge.
“The exhibition illustrates the multitude of talents and capacity of artistic expression the people of Pakistan have. It is with great emotions that the outburst of such expression comes to the light, in such a manner stating that creativity and imagination has no boundaries. I am confident that digging into the talents of such artists is the right path towards understanding new horizons,” Egyptian Ambassador Saïd Hindam expresses in a brochure accompanying the show.
Each of the artists in ‘Noon Wal Qalam’ has a distinct signature or manner in their artworks. Ahmed Khan presents complicated and perfectly rendered, red, gold and green canvases. Visually, his paintings reflect the splendour of sun-lit clouds upon the earth, and are passionate in their praise of God. Rasheed Butt’s plain black canvases are a perfect backdrop for the thick, gold painted Qura’anic verses. His work is quite unlike Saeed Akhtar’s much more minimal, text-like creations. However, Akhtar has deliberately chosen to produce predominantly monotone pieces of sharp rectangular shapes.
Khursheed Gohar Qalam’s canvases are overlaid and interspersed with bright patches of colour, coaxing the viewer’s eye.
Arif Khan’s art is reminiscent of musical scores where energetic, thick swipes of raw paint are used to create beautifully crafted delicate scripts. Mussarrat Arif, Shahzad Zar and Bin Qulander use traditional arabesque or spiral-like patterns in their pieces. Arif reminds her audience of the history of successful and talented women calligraphers. She paints in the Kufic manner and utilizes vivid colours to offset the thick black lines of her writings.
Zar chooses a variety of mediums to form his art, from oil paints to tree-leaves. His work emphasizes the geometric and circular motifs of Islamic art traditions. Bin Qulander, who was originally trained as a miniaturist, works in the Diwani style. His work is particularly striking since he creates intricate representations of visual patterns within his larger framework of dramatic reds and blues. Amin Gulgee has presented sculptural structures and added another dimension to the practice of calligraphy.
Guglee’s copper construction is a powerful artwork. It follows the never-ending spiral shape surrounding geometric patterns. Despite the hard metallic medium and the architectural elements, Gulgee’s sculpture is delicate and curved. Asad Ali Naqvi’s angular metallic cubic carvings are refreshingly unique. These are complemented by his equally unusual Zoomorphic calligraphy paintings, which utilize recognizable animal imagery. Naqvi deviates from the customary cloth or paper canvas, and primarily geometric patterns and opens his art to a range of possibilities.
The exhibition has been curated by Asma Khan, with assistance from Zahra Khan. “We are thankful to all the artists for their participation in this unique exhibition, and owe special recognition to Rasheed Butt for his support in helping shape Noon Wal Qalam,” Asma said. The exhibition will continue till August 31.