Calligraphy exhibition: Blending a mystical persona with modernistic paintings

Artist Arif Khan showcases 40 paintings at Nomad Gallery.

Maryam Usman July 21, 2013
The artist has expressed his love for God on canvas. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE


In keeping with the spirit of Ramazan, an exhibition of calligraphy paintings opened at Nomad Gallery on Saturday. Titled “Mystical Journey,” the exhibition features 40 paintings by Arif Khan that bear his philosophy of building a divine connection through art.

The paintings exude a fresh feel with an ample use of summery colours. The palette of aqua blue-green, lemon and tangerine lends Khan’s work an edge over many traditional calligraphers.

His work is highly stylised with inscriptions of various Quranic verses, the Alif Laam Meem script the most recurring element in different paintings.

The painter has employed mixed media including water colour, acrylic, charcoal and coffee to create variations of tone and effect on the canvas.

Through his abstract work, Khan reveals his spiritual side. He expresses his association and love for God through the rhythmic flow of colour, which according to him, is the deepest form of gratitude.

“My calligraphic paintings speak of the spiritual voyage and divine stature of the ultimate creator. The mystical journey captures the spirit of the written verses,” read a statement by the artist.

While his approach is predominantly mystical, he has alluded to romantic undertones in the current collection. The verses almost always appear to be inscribed on arbitrary surfaces or figurines obscured by strokes and sketches.

While commenting on Khan’s work, the Nomad Gallery curator Nageen Hayat remarked, “Arif is a fine artist. You can tell his style from a mile away. I’m delighted to showcase his work — which is progressive and stimulating — at the gallery for the second time.”

Khan has previously exhibited in Dubai, Qatar and India among other countries. He holds two Master of Fine Arts degrees from College of Art and Design and University of Punjab respectively. The exhibition will continue until August 8.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.


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