Exhibition: Reconfiguring traditional, oriental art

Abrar Ahmed opens at Nomad Gallery.

Rayan Khan May 04, 2011


Within the rustic confines of F-6/1’s nomad gallery, Abrar Ahmed’s exhibition of “masterly drawings and paintings” showcases a series of works that fuse traditional, Mughal precision with contemporary spontaneity.

“A self taught highly renowned artist, his favourite subject matter is women, sometimes adorned with jewellery in an attempt to show dissatisfaction of the soul, despite the wealth and luxury of modern living. He tries to convey his deep-rooted ideas through the expressive moods of the faces of his subject,” said Nageen Hyat, Director Nomad Gallery.

Hyat’s description could not be more apt. The subject matter strictly adheres to the female form; the unmistakably oriental women are melancholy, their eyes dulled with sadness and a sense of unfulfilled desires becomes immediately palpable to visitors. These women, removed from their traditional oriental configurations are rendered with sharp modern lines; they become more abstract than archaic, floating in post-modern space; redolent of Meher Afroz and Sadequain.

“I drew my inspiration from oriental forms and images,” said the artist, “but wanted to move towards the contemporary. The traditional art took a different direction, although the colours I use are still traditional,” said Ahmed. When asked to qualify his exclusive use of female subjects, he said, “In Mughal and miniature art, the focus usually falls on the female form, which is more romantic. I used a lot of soft lines that work with feminine subjects.”

Ahmed claimed that, like Sadequain, he too is a “line painter” (highlighting the lines), which viewers are quick to notice.

“I can’t believe he is self-taught. I love his work and so does the international community,” said a gallery visitor, who wished to not be named.

The current exhibition at Nomad shows a diverse collection of 30 artworks in pen, paint, and ink. They are on sale, ranging from Rs45,000 to a hefty Rs85,000 and rightfully so; this is sophisticated and thought-provoking work.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2011.

>Shah announced various development works worth Rs100 million before by-election in Ghizer while asking people to support the PPP candidate.

“The money announced by the chief minister is now ours and we will not let it go waste,” Naji told reporters in Ghizer on Monday.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2011.


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