A red school bus is running into a car on a 17” by 27” woven paper formed by weaving together strips of wasli sheet to give it a jute-like texture.
It is one of then pieces by artist Ghulam Hussain Guddo, 31, on display at the Drawing Room Gallery till November 4. The exhibition titled Classroom brings together moments from the artist’s childhood.
“In sixth grade, I went to Thatta and Badin on a school trip. The bus was slightly off balance since it carried more children than its capacity. On our way back, the driver drifted away and we almost ran into a car. The image of this near collision has stayed with me since,” Guddo says.
“I wanted to draw the scene as I would have back then…at the same time I wanted to apply the skills I have learnt,” he says.
“I wove the wasli paper inspired by memories of my father weaving charpoys in Hyderabad,” he says.
Guddo says the four years he spent at National College of Arts taught him to improve his drawing skills, choose appropriate object sizes and hone his application of colours.
“ I practised each drawing multiple times over two months before selecting the best ones. I then drew them on wasli,” says Guddo, who has been living in Lahore for the past five years.
“I wanted the drawings to reflect a child-like element…so I had to work my way back into drawing like a child,” he says.
In another drawing, he has formed a charpoy with Allah written in the middle. It is surrounded by multiple flocks of birds in different colours.
“The only channel in early 1990s in Hyderabad was PTV. Before and after every commercial break, they would play a visual with various species of birds flying around with the attributes of Allah emerging from the middle of the screen. This is my earliest memory of television,” he says.
He has also drawn a plane, a car and kites against a scenic green landscape.
“Every little boy at some time during his childhood wants to be a pilot or someone who makes kites since boys love chasing kites…,” he explains.
A building complex in multiple colours is Guddo’s attempt at drawing the buildings opposite the park in Hyderabad where he would go to practise drawing as a teenager.
The works are priced between Rs30,000 and Rs40,000.
Art critic Quddus Mirza and Salima Hashmi, owner of Rohtas Gallery and former NCA principal, appreciated Guddo’s attempt at blending his skill of weaving paper and using pencil colours to draw the series of images from his childhood.
Mirza said Hussain’s work stands apart because of its imagery, technique and sensibility, “It opens the possibility of multiple interpretations in the mind of viewers. It combines clever craft and the innocence of a child’s expression,” he said. Hashmi said the artist has experimented with the genre of miniature art.
He will also display his pieces at an exhibition in New York next month.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2012.