Lahore-based artist uses Lollywood reality to put a spin on life

There is a deep-seated connection between Lahoris and their Lollywood culture.

Express March 02, 2011

KARACHI: There is a deep-seated connection between Lahoris and their Lollywood culture. The city, a hub of pop-culture and cinema, was once lined with billboards hand-painted by the “masters”. Artist Ahmed Ali Manganhar remembers growing up and revering those painters that were never given the respect their work demanded. On Tuesday, he launched his own depiction of reality through imagery from the films  in a show titled ‘Disrupted Desires’ at the Canvas Gallery in Karachi. However, he could not arrive from Lahore in time for the opening.

The artist refuses to get involved with politics, nor does he like to delve into social injustices. “As artists, we are so restricted, it’s either miniatures or the war on terrorism, and it’s all related to the media,” said Manganhar while talking to The Express Tribune over the phone. “I don’t have any messages in my work, I just want to paint.”

Manganhar’s medium of choice is acrylics, a water-based alternative to the oil paints used on billboards. His art is meant to represent real-life situations with the exaggerated and surreal images of local cinema. The artist’s women are full-lipped and seductive while the men are moustachioed and burly. He has tried to represent the pictures with the effects of projected film.

“He uses film imagery and recreates it in a different combination to portray the emotions and feelings of a viewer,” said Quddus Mirza, the curator of the show. “The black-and-white pieces are nostalgic and even the coloured work is more about the memory of film rather than the representation.”

Manganhar strives to return to a time when artistry, not technology, dominated film making. He reminisces about Lakshmi Chowk which used to be painting central for all the billboard painters. He would watch them at work and that is where he derived his inspiration. “I have never had any formal training, but having seen it my whole life, I feel very close to the style,” said Managhar, adding that billboard art is a quick way of painting that encompasses the aesthetics required of a piece of art.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2011.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ


Most Read