Sensitive and Powerful Representations by Momin Khan and Shaista Momin

Fine Arts Pakistan (FAP) has organised an exhibition titled ‘Sensitive and Powerful Representations’ by Momin Khan and Shaista Momin.

The gallery has 28 paintings on display on two diverse topics by Shaista and Momin.

In one of Shaista’s untitled painting, a girl, wearing a beautiful dress and large earrings is sitting on a chair. She has her legs up and looks on at the viewer with a questioning look, as if upset and angry. The artist has painted the facial features with skill and sophistication, not just capturing the image, but also the unseen emotions.

Another one of her works is of a woman wearing a red sari. With her back towards the viewer, she looks alluring and tempting while adjusting her ‘pallu’. The painting perhaps depicts that the lady is newly married, and is getting used to her new life and status. The woman wears gold bangles, matching with the gold in her dress. The colours are vibrant and have an openness, which attracts the viewer to look keenly.

The artist has focused on women mostly in their traditional dresses. One more painting portrays a shalwar kameez clad lady sitting on the floor. The art piece expresses a typical middle class environment, however, she augmented it with red on one side of the painting, perhaps symbolising threat. The artist has played with colours in an intriguing manner.

Talking to Daily Times, Shaista said that her paintings feature women in our society, who have been searching for an identity for a long time. “I paint woman and her surrounding,” she said, adding that a drop of water has no importance what-so-ever to the ocean itself. “I am like a drop of water, that is a whole living breathing ocean in itself,” she said.

Her subject is the woman who, despite her beauty, intelligence, strength and patience traversed through diverse phases of evolution without making her existence felt, keeping a step behind, reached the present juncture.

The work by Momin was entirely different from his wife Shaista. Most of his paintings focus on men playing a traditional sport.

Momin is identified as an ‘Artist of Movement’, and is renowned for his dynamic portrayal of Buzkashi, frosty mountainous team-sport played by equally toughened men.

He has painted horses and turbaned men with exceptional skill. It is like bringing the game, along with the men and beast alive on canvas via acrylics.

Similarly, another of his painting is of men playing Buzkashi – a traditional Central Asian sport played among Kazakhs, Afghans, Uzbeks, Hazaras, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Turkmens and Pashtuns. It is quite similar to polo.

As per the artist’s statement, “The meaning of art is mystery to me. I just consciously paint my subconscious. Once upon a time there was a centipede that was amazingly good at dancing with hundred legs. The whole forest used to gather around to see her dance. The tortoise was jealous of her so he devised a fiendish plan. He sent a letter to the centipede in which he wrote: I must know how you go about it when you dance. Is it that you lift your left leg number 20 and than your right leg number 39? Or do you begin with right leg number 33 and then left leg number 50? I am eagerly waiting for your answer. The centipede never danced again.”

The exhibition will continue till May 4.


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