There are layers to creative expression that transcend physical boundaries, bridging contact between the divine and the mortal. Art is then, a visual mantra. This is the essence of an exhibition of paintings and calligraphy works that opened at AP Gallerie on Friday.
Titled “Khabar-e-Tahayyur”, the showcase features masterpieces by celebrated artists and calligraphers Ustad Allah Bux, Sadequain, Zawar Hussain and Ustad Khursheed Gohar Qalam.
Abida Parveen, ra enowned sufi singer and the gallery’s owner, said the exhibition presented art connoisseurs a unique opportunity to appreciate the master painters’ mystic journey.
“Every work of art is a divine blessing. In painting, my fascination is the human hand which is the major physical contributor and I see God’s name in it,” she said.
The poet and artist Sadequain’s work stands out for its experimental approach, illustrative of Quranic verses. His multidimensional strokes and rich palette remain an innovation, his realm a lyrical stream. He has garnered universal acclaim for setting a precedent in the realm of Islamic art.
Hussain’s canvases take on a life of their own, mainly dealing in landscapes and figurines. The paintings are immaculately symmetric and aesthetically fragmented. About his work, Parveen, said, “Through my extensive journey in the galaxy of arts, I have never come across such a brilliant artist. His work entices one in a deep, mystical and realistic contact. For me, he is a sufi talking of nature in his magnificent colours.”
Qalam, disciple of various noted calligraphy masters including Ustad Ismail Dehlavi and Hafiz Yousaf Sadidi, has carved his own niche in the medium. He is the only Pakistani calligrapher to have been featured at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and the British Museum in London. From bold inscriptions to intricate lines, his canvas exudes energy and tranquility. He has been a professor of calligraphy at the National College of the Arts for a long time.
Senator Mushahid Hussain, who inaugurated the event, said he had been a fan of Parveen for two decades.
“The sufi tradition is a part of our culture and it must be kept alive. She (Parveen) has been the principle instrument in doing that. She’s not just an artist but a living legend and an icon,” he added.
His wife, Dushka Saiyid, said “Sadequain and Ustad Allah Bux are invaluable and this is a first- of-its-kind showroom that houses art, jewellery and music in the capital. I hope it’s financially-viable.”
Psychiatrist Dr Mubashir Malik stated “It is remarkable to have so many top-ranking artists under one roof.”
“There are some exceptional works in this collection. I feel that Zawar is a bit of a forgotten master — he could not attain the same level of appreciation as Sadequain but his work is at par if not more,” said an art dealer, SD Najmuddin.
Parveen also enchanted guests with powerful renditions of sufi couplets including the wildly popular “Yaar ko hum ne ja baja dekha.” The exhibition will continue till November 10.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2013.