Tribute to Shahid Sajjad at Photospace Gallery
It is always a delight to see one artist paying tribute to another. This works wonders in two ways: (1) it elevates the artistic expression of the tribute-paying person to a level where sincerity of content surpasses the command over technique (2) it creates bonhomie between extraordinary individuals which rubs off on their admirers. An exhibition of photographs of distinguished sculptor Shahid Sajjad’s works (along with a book launch on the same subject) by noted photographer Arif Mahmood which commenced at the Photospace Gallery on Wednesday spoke volumes for the talent of both artists.
The black-and-white pictures on display take the viewer on a journey of the eminent sculptor’s creative pursuits. They try and analyse his creations with such insight that it almost gives a firsthand experience of witnessing Sajjad’s artworks.
The most distinct feature of the show is the single lines taken from known Urdu couplets assigned to each exhibit. The lines, picked by none other than poet Zehra Nigah, serve as the caption for the artist’s works as well as illustrate, albeit subtly, the thought behind the whole endeavour.
While lines from the great Urdu poets such as Meer Taqi Meer, Sauda, Yagana and Faiz are no less engaging, it is Ghalib’s poetry that dominates the scene, for understandable reasons. Shahid Sajjad is a Ghalib buff (he may not concede that, though).
And Arif Mahmood knows very well the co-relation between the artist he has photographed and Urdu poetry. One of Arif Mahmood’s remarkable achievements in the exhibition is a piece captioned Haath ki jitni lakeerein theen rag-i-jaan ho gaeen.
The photographer has intelligently been able to capture Shahid Sajjad’s interpretation of the line and has at the same time construed that in his (Arif’s) own style.
The texture of Sajjad’s work can be readily felt in the grab.Apart from that, an image in which one of this writer’s favourite lines Wamandagi-i-shauq tarashey hai panahein — again by Ghalib — has been used is very astutely shot by the photographer. The inherent frenzy in Shahid Sajjad’s work becomes artistically oblique but not beyond grasp.
A large piece in which the sculptor’s profile is seen with his creations captioned Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekheinge sums up the display rather well.
The exhibition will remain open till May 29.