KARACHI: Striking colours, precise use of the brush and knife and a stroke of genius — this is what Hamid S Alavi’s latest works being exhibited at the Citi Art Gallery are made of.
Alavi, a Karachi-based artist, explores the city of lights through his works, giving it a bona fide, yet surreal touch. The pale silhouettes of structures in shanty-looking towns against the backdrop of moody skies represent what the artist imagines as his city. “This is kind of like my dreamscape,” said Alavi. “I paint what I see through my imagination.”
Speaking of the media used in his works, Alavi said that he like using thick heavy-loaded brushes which brought about uniqueness in his works. Alavi also uses the pallet knife to give special effects to the canvas.
What Alavi especially manages to do is to capture the essence of the bustling metropolis in his paintings, depicting the urban landscape as a myriad of structures and buildings. The colour theme in his works gives it a kind of mystical touch which is all the enhanced by the inclusion of the mosque in each of his paintings — a building he believes to be the centre of the citizens’ lives. This is what he calls his ‘spiritual inclination’.
Speaking about the paintings on display, the gallery owner, Saleem Ahmed, said, “Alavi has managed to encompass both natural beauty and man-made structures in his paintings. The mosques in his paintings ensure that his works fall close to home.” Ahmed’s only regret was that though Pakistani artists were very skilled, they were not accorded due appreciation in the country.
The artist, Alavi, agreed. “Art-lovers from all over the world appreciate my work and are willing to pay high prices for it. It is just sad that people living abroad appreciate my art more than my own people,” he lamented.
Speaking about his inspiration, Alavi revealed that he had initially started his career as a fashion designer and entrepreneur. Business was not his strongest forte, however, and after suffering some heavy losses, Alavi decided to jump ship. “I always had a strong artistic disposition but was afraid to put my imagination on canvas,” he recalled. Once he started painting, though, there was no looking back. “It takes dedication and consistency to make a great artist,” he told The Express Tribune — two qualities Alavi must have in abundance seeing how he has achieved success in such a short time.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2014.
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