Legendary landscape painter Ghulam Rasul was remembered by friends and art enthusiasts on Tuesday. The event was organised by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on the second death anniversary of the artist who had died on December 3, 2009.
Rasul’s forte lay in landscapes and he painted a series of natural sceneries mostly portraying the beauty of Potohar region and Gilgit-Baltistan. Much of his work represents the city he loved — Islamabad – and Baltistan in a variety of colours focusing on the change of seasons and lofty snow-clad mountains.
A recipient of the Pride of Performance presidential award in 1986, he not only painted natural beauty but also campaigned to raise awareness for preserving nature and environmental protection. He actively participated in rallies against the cutting of Banyan trees in Islamabad.
His work reflects this dedication and the series of paintings presented at the National Art Gallery gives viewers the chance to experience the region’s heritage, often forgotten or gone unnoticed in today’s highly politicised and explosive art scene. Colleagues referred to him as “The Legend in the Potohar Art Scene”.
Rasul graduated with an MFA in painting from Northern Illinois University in 1972 where remembrances of his native Punjab drew him into landscape painting, but his style (originally a minimalist approach) changed during his tour of Europe, specifically in Paris where he learned print-making under the tutelage of William Hayter (who has been credited as influencing Picasso among other great artists). With a richer palette, infusing yellows, greens, reds and oranges and doing away with dark and drabber colours, he began to adopt the style that would soon become a hallmark of his work.
The memorial began with a photographic slideshow spotlighting much of Rasul’s work and speeches by both PNCA Visual Arts Director Musarrat Naheed and PNCA Director General Tauqir Nasir who appreciated his work, specifically his contributions to the Gallery.
A separate gallery has been dedicated to the artist and a civil society has urged the CDA to name the street he lived on after him.
Rabia Rasool, the artist’s youngest daughter, thanked the audience for their presence and remembering her illustrious father.
Guests visited the gallery to view GR’s paintings; amongst his originals were replicas painted by private artists.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.
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