Artistic Tribute to Rahman Baba
As the three-day celebration for Sufi poet Rahman Baba’s urs drew to a close on Sunday, water colourist Naseeruddin Mohmand has unveiled his artistic tribute to the literary giant. With each stroke of his brush, the artist has skillfully incorporated Rahman Baba’s mystic verses into his body of work, literally and figuratively.
A popular poet, Rahman Baba is revered not just in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, but he also enjoys a position of respect across Pakistan and Afghanistan. His poems have always had their finger on the people’s pulse and have promoted the message of peace.
This year, like the ones gone by, a large number of people reached Rahman Baba’s shrine in Hazarkhwani, on the outskirts of Peshawar, for the urs or his death anniversary. A poetry session was also organised at Khana-e-Farhang (Iran Cultural Centre) to pay homage to the Sufi poet.
The colour of words
Mohmand’s special tribute to Rahman Baba has gone the extra mile and attempts to restore interest in the Sufi poet among young people.
So far, he has completed 30 paintings which draw on Rahman Baba’s verses. The walls of Mohmand’s residence in Hayatabad are covered with these paintings. “My intention was to expand the scope of the Sufi poet’s works and portray it through visual art,” he tells The Express Tribune.
Mohmand keeps Rahman Baba’s verses at the heart of his work as to stay true to the poet’s original meaning.
The artist has painted the poet’s words, incorporating them into landscapes and still life alike. As a result, the final product does not lose sight of the meaning of the Sufi’s poetry, no matter the artist’s own interpretation.
“When I was working on these paintings, I was trying to present a realistic view,” says Mohmand. “I wanted an accurate portrayal of Rahman Baba’s poems and hope this is evident in the paintings.”
He feels the subtle nuances of Rahman Baba’s poems have gone unnoticed. “I decided to use art to flesh out the many layers of Rahman Baba’s work,” he explains. “I feel the general public finds it difficult to understand the underlying messages behind his poetry. There is no better way to draw attention to them than through captivating visuals.”
He says, “Rahman Baba has been a source of inspiration for my work.” The artist adds, not without pride. “Some artists seek inspiration from nature while others are motivated by the works of talented people.”
The paintings are not a strong departure from Mohmand’s earlier work. The compositions vary, ranging from realistic portraits to abstract images which attempt to capture the depth of the poet’s words.