Fine arts: Saeed Akhtar stands out for freshness of his work

Dozens attend exhibition, book launch at the artist’s studio

The artist makes the features of people stand out. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR


Around 100 paintings, drawings and sketches by artist Saeed Akhtar were displayed at his studio in Johar Town on Saturday.

The exhibition was followed by the launch of his book, titled Saeed Akhtar: Sketchbook, and a fashion presentation, titled The Signature, by fashion designer, Sahar Atif.

“My work is always new. I never exhibit the work that has already been shown,” Akhtar said. “The walls of this studio show you my work over the past three years.”

He has painted horses, figures, portraits and sketches using oil paint, charcoal and pencil. The exhibition was inaugurated by Mariam Imran, the artist’s nine-month-old granddaughter. His son Usman Saeed, also a painter and photographer, said the pieces on display had been made from 2012 to 2015. “The previous exhibition was held in Karachi in 2011,” Saeed recalled.

“Saeed Akhtar sahib is an institution by himself. Watching him communicate with his students and people in general, too, is a learning experience,” said Amna Ismail Pataudi, the Shakir Ali Museum Visual and Performing Arts director.

“We need to treasure people like Saeed Akhtar. He cannot be replaced,” she said.

Saeed Akhtar: Sketchbook

Akhtar’s book is a revised edition of his first monograph published in 2009.

“After the first edition sold out, we decided to include his previous and recent work in a new edition. It includes the paintings displayed at Lahore Museum,” Saeed said.

Akhtar’s famous painting of the Quaid-i-Azam is displayed at the State Bank Building in Islamabad.

The Signature

The fashion presentation included four dresses that Atif said had been inspired by Akhtar’s drawings.

“These are among his best work. His oil paintings are exquisite. The way he plays with the hues and the mature strokes he creates are visible in these pieces,” said Salahuddin Khan, a ceramist. “He makes the features of people in his portraits, especially those of women, stand out.”

Saeed Akhtar is the recipient of a Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2012 and Tamgha-i Husn-i Karkardagi (Pride of Performance) in 1994. He obtained his diploma in fine art from the National College of Arts in 1964.

The exhibition will continue until December 5.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2015.


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