I wanted my painting to be about the actress, Rani. I based it on the song Aik Thi Larki from one of her films, said Rabia Anwar, the actress’s daughter.
She is amongst the 21 artists from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad whose paintings of the actress are on display at the Alhamra Arts Gallery. Film star Shahid inaugurated the exhibition.
The exhibition, titled Icon, has been organised jointly by the Lahore Arts Council and the Rohtas 2 Gallery to pay tribute to Rani on her 18th death anniversary.
Anwer, an NCA graduate, said she was more familiar with Rani, the performing artist, than a mother. “My mother was a legendry artist. It was very difficult to come up with an idea for the exhibition. You need something out of this world to honour someone who herself was an icon,” she said.
Saeed Akhtar’s contribution depicting only the eyes of the actress, stood out. He said Rani’s eyes were the most prominent feature in her face and made her stand out from other actresses of her time. He said her eyes were the first thing that came to his mind when he was invited to the exhibition.
Akhtar used charcoal on paper for the sketch.
Asad Hayee’s work Theatre of Indifference had several of Rani’s images on a tie. The artist said he had deliberately chosen a masculine symbol (tie) and put Rani’s images on it. “I have tried to understand the relations between the two genders” he said.
Sadaf Naeem’s picture was an oil painting of the actress. She had painted Rani in black and white and surrounded her image by red roses.
Aqsa Ilyas, a Fine Arts student, said she liked how different artists had painted the actress in different ways. “This shows how versatile an artist Rani was,” she said.
The exhibition would go on till June 4, 2011. The funds raised from the exhibition would be used to purchase an ambulance for Rani Rafiqun Memorial Hospital in a Gujranwala village and for repair and reconstruction of the hospital building.
Other participants in the exhibition were Aasim Akhtar, Abdul Jabbar Gul, Adeel Ahmed, Adeeluz Zafar, Ahsan Jamal, Madiha Sikander, Ali Azmat, Amber Hammad, Asad Hayee, Atif Khan, Hassan Mujtaba, Mohammad Ahmad, Muhammad Ashraf, Risham Syed, Zeeshan Memon, Saira Dar, Sheraz Faisal and Mohammad Ali Talpur.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2011.