The National Art Gallery of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) has displayed the work of legendary painter, mystic and visionary S Ali Imam in permanent collections to acknowledge the services of the artist. The collection was displayed to remember the artist through a special display of paintings and photographs on his 10th death anniversary with the title ‘Lost in the Wilderness’ while the permanent display serves art lovers with the title ‘The Visionary; S Ali Imam’.
The special display recognises Ali Imam’s gigantic contribution as a painter, visionary and mentor belonging to the first generation of Pakistan’s artists and a great art promoter. Around 60 pieces of art have been exhibited with a focus on images that explore his sensitive and defused style of painting on subjects that were mostly figures and horses.
A keen historian and collector of antiquities, until his death, Imam was in demand throughout the country as a lecturer of diverse art-related issues. His sole aim was to promote, create public awareness and educate art collectors. The collection of paintings and photo reproduction on Imam’s life and work has been presented from the national collection.
S Ali Imam has tremendous contribution in the sphere of visual arts as painter, critic, historian and mentor, said an official of PNCA. Ali Imam spent some years in London. Returning to Pakistan in 1967, he became a key figure in art circles. For four years Imam was the principal of the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts until 1971, when he set up the Indus Gallery and a new chapter of art began in Karachi.
Imam set the standards of future art galleries in the country. Art critics and artists remember him as a legendary painter, art connoisseur, art critic and teacher, who touched the lives of several people through his art. Imam ruled the world of art for over five decades and served as an institution with amazing dimensions, which nourished and enriched the art movement in Pakistan.
Ali Imam was born in Narsinghpur, India, in 1924, and began painting in 1941 when he joined the evening classes of the Nagpur School of Art. Over a period of time, Ali Imam became an important art educationist in Karachi. He was the architect of the modern curriculum of The Central Institute of Arts and Crafts. From 1970 until 2002, he was running the Indus Gallery in Karachi where many notable artists have held their first shows. He was awarded with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and the Pride of Performance.