Exhibition: Imitation of life: Finding the glory in our everyday lives

Two-man exhibit ‘Lifelike Similes’ goes up on display.

Sehrish Ali December 15, 2012


Professional artists are trained to see what the layman can’t, for it is only when we see an inanimate object painted and objectified in all their glory do we realise the beauty in our everyday lives.

“Lifelike Similes”, an exhibition of realistic paintings at Gallery 6, manages to do just that for a lay person. This two-man show brings together Aqeel Javaid, known as Teetu, from Rawalpindi and Kamran Ahmed from Karachi.

Be it a simple steel chair, or a stack of books placed on a table, the attention to detail and the accuracy of shading and colour manage to achieve immense depth and brilliance. Straying away from the fuss and feathers, the two artists breathe life into everyday objects and portray a silent exquisiteness.

Teetu, who earned a Masters in Fine Arts from Punjab University in 2006, has held three solo exhibitions and participated in nine group shows in Lahore and Topi. Besides painting, he has also taken part in photography exhibitions since 2003.

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His work is on a large scale, depicting an artist’s surroundings. There are boards with several sketches and paintings on paper. The presence of scotch tape and thumbtacks adds the interesting visual effect of unfinished work in these paintings. Discussing them, Teetu poetically called himself “a man in a world of false realities. In the world of humans, the humans with poster-like feelings, in the world where paper has the most dominating value, rather than flesh.”

An old green door with a lock is the subject of one painting, while a red kite with tape shows the importance of old and used items in the artist’s life. All are oil-on-canvas and some of them are mounted on lasani-sheet, painted in a way that gives effect of wood with prominent grains.

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Making a statement on his works, Teetu said, “I don’t know about style, I just wished to be called a painter.”

Kamran Ahmed has graduated from Karachi School of Arts in 1996. He has also participated in nine group shows in Karachi and Dubai and spent several years abroad in the animation industry. He made his return to paintings by holding a solo show in Karachi in 2009. Karachi-based art critic Muniza Agha-Fawad once wrote of Ahmed’s work, “Amidst the routines of daily life, the dullness of our tasks, and the frustrations with which we live, Ahmed’s still-life miniatures serve to remind us that it is these small blessings and life itself that are sacred.”

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Ahmed’s paintings are miniatures that signify the difficulties one faces in syntax and vocabulary in categorising paintings. All are oil on canvas with minute details. They depict books, envelopes, pencils and their containers, objects on a reading table, earthenware, ceramic vases and cups, metal kitchen containers and pipes, fruit baskets, drapes, chair and scenery. Most of these looks like as real as photographs unless one actively starts looking for the extremely fine brush strokes.

Ahmed got inspired to move towards realism as a student, after he attended a painting exhibition by Shakil Siddiqi in 1995. “Since that day, I have been trying to achieve the same level of realism in my work. Shakil Saheb is now not only a friend, but my mentor, a man with whom I often discuss my work and receive feedback,” he said.

The show will run daily till December23 from 11am to 7pm, including weekends.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2012. 


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