Artists known to have quiet personas often use their medium of choice to express themselves, be they words, music, paintings or sculptures. The book titled “Tere shehr-e-dil se uth aye”, that was launched at the Nomad Gallery on Tuesday seemed one such effort.
The well-known artist from the capital Ahmed Habib, had been working on this collection for the past six years. Utilising the time he had between teaching art and working as a freelance artist, he decided to compile a book of poems that launched at a simple yet tasteful affair.
Present in the gallery, Habib explained his journey through which this book became a reality. “Please do not consider this as a book of poems, but rather as an artist’s diary,” he said as he went on to read his favourite poem, Yehshodra, in which the artist pens down a farewell poem to the wife of Gautama Buddha while taking the form of Buddha himself. “I wanted to imagine what Buddha must have wanted to say to his wife before deserting her,” Habib explains. Other poems included “Ashna”, “Sach Kehna” and “Bhagwat Nama”.
Listening to Habib reciting his poetry, one begins to understand the thought process behind the writing. Even though the title of the book suggests a forlorn lover removing himself mentally and physically from the one he loves, the poems themselves become a contradiction. It seems as if the poet is trying his best to reason with himself and his surroundings, yet is unable to find logic and act practically.
Asim Akhtar, an artist and art critic, offered an analogy about Habib’s book. As he read on, he highlighted the importance of love in everyone’s life, the presence of love which destroys every man’s ego, and the yearning with which every lonely heart feels empty when searching for love. “Every human being passes a yearning to feel the need to give themselves up,” he said.
He said Habib’s book had a “refreshing lack of self-centeredness”. Rimsha, a local RJ and student of Habib’s read out two poems, after which Ali performed an acoustic song. It was Iftikhar Arif, a famous TV personality, that had everyone clapping as he regaled everyone of the golden days when artists would always be good friends with each other. “Now it is just painters meeting painters and singers meeting singers, the sense of community has vanished in art society,” he said.
Ahmed Habib has already received many national awards and showcased his work in Oman.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2012.