Solo Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Jamil Naqsh
A grand solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by Jamil Naqsh — one of the most celebrated artists of Pakistan, now enjoying a reclusive life in London –
opens at Tanzara Art Gallery here (Friday) 20 April 2012.
Titled ‘Birds of Time,’ the exhibition is not merely a celebration of the art of Jamil Naqsh, but also a tribute to the strong cultural linkages that exist between Pakistan and the United Kingdom. British High Commissioner Adam Thomson will inaugurate the show in the presence of a select gathering of art connoisseurs, who cannot wait to see the work of an artist who is exhibiting in Islamabad after a gap of 20 long years.
Naqsh is a contemporary artist who holds a key position in the world of art, long famous in his own country and well-established internationally. The collection on display includes 23 extraordinary canvases in which he pays tribute to his early days, and 16 graphite drawings of female forms that stand out for their amazing quasi-sculptural quality.
On the canvases, Naqsh has used newspaper images to create a fascinating backdrop against which he has painted pigeons, parrots, faces, a supine form, as well as old buildings and images from the Mughal era.
According to art historian, critic and writer Edward Lucie-Smith, “These birds have a deep personal meaning for Naqsh. As a child, he saw them flying in and out of the courtyard of the family house. In personal terms, they offer a nostalgic glance backwards — a glimpse of the familiar, the domestic, the soothing — of the pleasures of traditional family life, snatched away from him by the trauma of his mother’s early death, followed by the violence of Partition. They also, however, refer to a deeply romantic element in the tradition of the art of the Indian subcontinent, specifically the art forms associated with the princely courts of the Mughal epoch, both Muslim and Hindu. This comment applies not only to art, but other, non-visual forms of artistic expression, such as poetry and music. The ‘ghazal’ poetry of Mirza Ghalib has had a particular influence on Naqsh’s work. One striking
feature of poems in ‘ghazal’ form is that their over-riding subject is love. Each is the
representation of a particular emotional moment. This is
also true of those paintings
by Naqsh where images of women and pigeons are combined. The pigeons are, in this case, the secret messengers of love.”
The graphite drawings almost seem to invite one to touch them. Naqsh has rendered them with great dexterity and possesses that unique inherent sensitivity to the power of line.
The exhibition will continue at Tanzara Art Gallery (House 14, Street 12, Sector F-7/2) till May 3.