Tribute to Faiz: Legendary calligrapher weaves poetry into art

‘Poetry on Canvas’ opens at PNCA.

Sehrish Ali October 21, 2011


Aslam Kamal’s latest painting exhibition attempts to capture Faiz in the process of penning verses. Many pieces depict him lost in thought, with a cigarette in hand and ready to write something new.

The exhibition, “Poetry on Canvas”, opened at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) here on Thursday. Kamal, who is a reputed calligraphist, painter, illustrator and designer, has previously painted Allama Iqbal and Faiz. His first collection on Faiz debuted in 1983.

Each illustration is a verse from the poet’s favourite poetry, Kamal’s intention is clear: to feel Faiz’s presence and each piece seems a fitting tribute to Faiz through the only language available to the artist: brush and colour, light and shade, line and form. At the same time, he sympathises with the rival in Faiz’s piece “Rakeeb sei”, saying, “Faiz is the poet, he writes poetry about beauty. I’m his rival and I paint the beauty he depicts.”

Faiz championed democracy and fought for the poor and subjugated so it feels fitting for a gifted calligrapher to pay tribute to that. Kamal also donated one of his pieces to the PNCA as a nod to the poet who was the first chairperson of the council.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2011. 


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