KARACHI: After dedicating more than 60 years of his life to his passion for art, renowned Pakistani artist Jamil Naqsh bade farewell to the world on May 16, 2019, in London.
Paying tribute to his legacy, his contemporaries spoke about his artistic contributions and remembered him as a person of great depth and integrity.
Abdul Jabbar Gull, renowned Pakistani sculptor and painter, said that Naqsh was the most brilliant painter that he’d ever known, calling his demise a sad loss for the country.
“He had a distinct style of painting because of which he was an inspiration for many artists in the country,” Gull recalled. “His death is not only a great loss for Pakistan but also for the international art scene.”
Commenting on Naqsh’s personality, Gull said that although he was like a dervish (hermit), he always treated others with love and respect whenever he met them. Having devoted more than half of his life to his work, his personal integrity greatly reflected in his paintings.
“He was a simple man but had a very deep personality,” Gull said.
Like Gull, Noorjehan Bilgrami – famous painter, textile designer, and owner of Koel Gallery in Karachi –spoke at length about Naqsh’s role in promoting modern art in Pakistan and said that his demise has left a huge void in the Pakistani artistic arena.
“Jamil Naqsh’s demise has brought an end to an era in arts; a chapter has been closed,” Bilgrami told The Express Tribune. She added that Naqsh was one of the very few artists in Pakistan who dedicated his whole life to painting.
“He was passionate about his work and his contribution to the field of arts is priceless,” Bilgrami stated.
All his fellow Pakistani artists agreed that for Jamil Naqsh, art was not just a way of personal expression but a way of life.
Remembering Naqsh as an amazing painter, Nahid Raza, award-winning Pakistani artist of international renown, expressed her deepest condolence at his heavenly departure and said that no one can replace an artist like Jamil Naqsh for centuries.
“Naqsh was an amazing painter. In fact, he was an institution in himself,” Raza said.
She added that he was a beautiful artist and the way he used his brush on the canvas always left people awestruck.
“He was an ocean of knowledge,” Nahid recalled. “He wasn’t only well-versed in arts but he had a profound understanding of other fields too. I learned a lot from him.”
Akin to other artists, famous Pakistani painter Nilofer Farrukh remembered Jamil Naqsh as a legendary artist who has left behind a great body of work for upcoming artists to take inspiration from.
“Naqsh was a modern master of calligraphy and figurative paintings. His artistic talent was celebrated both at home and abroad and he remained at the forefront throughout his career,” she said.
Nilofer, who last saw Naqsh somewhere in the 1990s, said that although he had limited interaction with people, his presence in society was always felt through his art.
Likewise, artist Najmi Sura, for whom Naqsh was a mentor, praised his services and said that although Naqsh has returned to his Creator, he has left behind an illustrious career in the field of fine arts, by redefining abstract, still-life, calligraphy and many other genres.
“He shall not only be remembered by his family but he also goes down in history as a relentless painter who opted for solitude to focus on his work over the other joys of life,” Sura said in a heartfelt statement.
Born in 1939 in the city of Kirana, India, Jamil Naqsh moved to Karachi, Pakistan during partition. Over the years, his natural instinct and creativity led to the creation of many mesmerising paintings. Having represented Pakistan across the world, he received the President’s Award for Pride of Performance in 1989 and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2009. In 1989, he also received the Pursuit of Excellence Award by the Artist Association of Punjab.
“We cannot thank him enough for reintroducing fine arts to this part of the world and leaving a visual saga for all of us to cherish for the rest of our lives,” Sura concluded.