Colour splash: Spirituality brings out the Voices of Silence

Five artists including two foreigners display their paintings at Gallery6


Maryam Usman November 15, 2014

ISLAMABAD: An exhibition of paintings revolving around themes of spirituality opens at Gallery6 on Saturday (today).

Titled ‘Voices of Silence’, the exhibition features paintings of artists Sadaf Farast from Malaysia, Hassan Amekan from Iran and three established artists from Pakistan – Akbar Hafeez, Babar Moghal and Sarfaraz Musawir.

Farasat has illustrated the spiritual legacy of Rumi in her paintings. “As a follower of Rumi, I do ‘whirling’ on canvas with the strokes of my painting tools. I continue my own ‘sema’ on canvas until a piece is created which gives me satisfaction,” she said about her work. For her, painting is a form of prayer or meditation. “Every painting of mine has a theme and conveys a message of love for Allah,” she added.

Amekan’s paintings are based on the Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), an epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdousi between 977 to 1010AD which is the national epic of Greater Iran.

Shahnameh has drawn interest of many miniature painters in Iran. Hassan has tried to change that classical style by simplifying imagery and by changing the background and colours.

Moghal’s paintings on the other hand are surrealistic, philosophical and spellbinding. They are not restricted to any specific set of images, symbols or motifs but are visuals that link viewers to a dream, fantasy or imaginary world.

“Music is my primary source of inspiration, I think visual art bypasses all censors and penetrate our subconscious just as music does with emotional content. It’s better to let a visual idea grow on itself rather than plainly stating its allegorical meaning,” he said about his artwork

Moghal graduated as a graphic designer from Karachi School of Arts in 1993 but in a few years quit the job to become a full time painter. He made his statement with a solo painting exhibition at VM Art Gallery in Karachi in 1996 with illustrations based on the music of legendary concept rock band Pink Floyd.

Musawir uses watercolours, working with a watery brush. Hence, he noticeably maintains the special characteristics of transparency and fluidity of the medium with classy strokes on the surface.

Sarfaraz’s inspiration comes from nature, even though the subject of many of his paintings has been architecture. In this show also, he shines in presenting serenity in landscapes as well as the architecture of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

“I am inspired by my surrounding architecture - domes and shapes of the old buildings, colours of the different soil, the sky, the rainy clouds and foggy landscape in winters. All these elements help to create a mood that I try to depict in my paintings,” he said about his work

Hafeez, in is paintings, focuses on  women with long necks — a symbol of beauty in the Indian subcontinent, in dreamy states with very distinct cat-like eyes from greenish-yellow to golden or copper like tints. They may even take bluish or other tones depending on the composition and portrayed mood. These women with varying expressions are often composed with birds, trees, fruits and water to enhance the vocabulary of the composition. Overall, it appears as if he is articulating unspoken desires of women in captivating hues.

Hafeez is an interior and furniture designer by profession. He is a self-taught painter who began painting about a decade ago guided by his instincts and passion. Since then he has held 11 solo exhibitions, besides being part of few group shows indicating his energy and dedication to this form of art.

“There seems to be a story behind every painting. If you stand in front of the paintings, they take you into a trance-like state and that is the beauty of the visual art that speaks to you silently,” said Arjumand Faisel, the gallery curator. The exhibition will continue daily from 11 am to 7pm till 23 November.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2014.

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