Textured legacy: Lahore-inspired artwork comes to Islamabad

Exhibition showcases scenes from the old city in watercolours

Our Correspondent September 10, 2015
Watercolours on grain paper depict different scenes of old Lahore including streets, buildings and people. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: An exhibition of watercolours by Sarfraz Musawir opened at Gallery 6 on Wednesday. Musawir, an artist from Karachi, currently resides in Lahore.

Paintings in the display, titled, “Jin’nay Lahore nai vekhya” (Who hasn’t seen Lahore) depicts different scenes of old Lahore encompassing the many aspects of the area including streets, buildings, transport and people. It was stunning to see the artist produce textured artwork with watercolours on grained paper. “This is a special grained paper that comes from India and is rarely available in Pakistan,” he said.

An interesting aspect of the opening was the part where the artist gave a demonstration of his work, which intrigued guests and inspired art students and connoisseurs.

“I moved to Lahore eight years ago but it was not till last year that I discovered the true old Lahore, which is very different from what the eye normally sees. Since I am from Karachi, the old city seemed very different from what I had seen, and I also noticed how it is losing its legacy and touch. I decided to preserve it though my art,” he told The Express Tribune.

Speaking about his art education, Musawir told that he was initially a science student. “Even though I was a science graduate, I knew I am an artist from the beginning and eventually went for a diploma in art,” he said.

“Zaheen Ahmed is a watercolour artist who I am particularly inspired by,” he told.

He further mentioned that he derives his inspiration from his surroundings. “I particularly like to work in orange because it adds a lot of life to paintings,” he said. The influence of orange could clearly be seen in the work, which made it more vibrant and eye catching. However, his colour palette is not restricted to orange and the like. He uses an entire range of colours, from dull greys and browns, to stunning shades of blues, greens and purples.

Arjumand Faisel, curator and director of the gallery, told The Express Tribune that there were a very few watercolour artists in the country, Musawir included. “The way he describes a city in his artwork is absolutely beautiful. He has worked in Karachi and portrayed the city in his artwork and is now capturing the aesthetic beauty of Lahore in his own distinct style. The way he adds romance to his paintings shows a lot of life in his work,” he said.

The display is ongoing till September 16.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2015.

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