Exhibition: A virtual journey into the Mughal era

Samina Ali’s paintings spirals through history of the lives and times of royalty.


Sehrish Ali January 16, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A fusion of old and new, historical and contemporary art can be witnessed at the Nomad Art Gallery showcasing Samina Ali’s latest work.

The artist said her pieces are an ode to old Mughal miniature, coming under the umbrella of collage. With the richness of red, maroon, gold and green, the pieces consist of mixed media: simple cutting from the Shahi Namma (miniature book) wood cut pieces, hand painted calligraphy all are brought together under one canvas to create narrative stories. But the brilliance in Ali’s work comes from simplicity.

Tinged with personal nuances, each piece boasts of tidbits of memento collected over years (including silver foil wrappers of chocolates from her son’s goody bags).

“I want to create movement in my work, I’m fascinated with Muslim history yet I want to do something new with it and take it forward,” said Ali.

It is hard to place her pieces in a single genre or category, with scenes from the Mughal era of princes and their romance placed on the canvas along with abstract calligraphy scattered across; it seems as if each painting is a story, and the calligraphy in the paintings is what lyrics are to a song.

However her works do not portray the finesse and delicate finishing that the art is known for; especially in miniature works, most of the pieces are smudgy and abstract in nature. Still this presentation is what makes her art quirky albeit slightly repetitive as the collection may vary in colour but the theme ultimately remains constant. The exhibition will continue till January 24.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2012.

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