An exhibition of paintings by Najmi Mansoor is on display at Shanakht, a space for emerging artists at the Nomad Art Gallery.
Mansoor’s art is experimental, refreshing and contemporary. Her paintings draw one in, for their vibrant colours and choice of arbitrary and natural subjects. As a painter, she is interested in capturing the essence and vitality of life around her.
For instance, portraits of street children are beaming with innocent, candid and mischievous expressions. Mansoor has also painted a child, playing by a drawing room window, which, she said reminded the artist of her granddaughter.
“I feel like I’m still in the process of learning. My friends and family have been helping me out, by offering constructive criticism,” said Mansoor, adding that there was always room for improvement and her paintings might evolve over time.
There is a story behind each piece. She has captured sunflowers growing in an empty plot next door, as well as tea-cups given to the artist by her mother. A balcony view, with a rocking chair, a book and a coffee mug is the artist’s idea of a hut in Murree.
She has also painted galloping horses, a pond outside her house and a silhouette that appears to be the back of an African woman. A girl sitting by a river shows ripples and reflection of lights, in a kaleidoscope of natural hues. Another is a veiled woman, with specks of light falling on her face.
“As most artists in initial stages, [Mansoor] has painted what fascinates her in her surroundings,” said Ahmed Habib, artist and Mansoor’s mentor. He said that artists start out by focus on handling medium, technique and controlling elements of art, instead of focusing on the subject, which comes later. Habib said that he was proud to see Mansoor’s work exhibited at a mainstream gallery in the capital.
Nageen Hyat, the gallery’s curator and founder, said Mansoor showed interest, passion and commitment in her art medium. “We’ve tried to keep the new gallery space open for emerging artists of all age groups and it is important to look at the perspective. I look at the process as a journey: the idea is to setup the work and critique, to take it to the next stage,” she added.
The exhibition continues till February 28.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2015.