Iqbal Hussain’s courtesans of Heera Mandi come to Karachi
KARACHI: Iqbal Hussain is an honest artist, in whose works you get to see what he is.
His teacher from National College of Arts (NCA), Adil Salahuddin, said this while commenting on the artist and his works at Spaces Gallery on Tuesday. “With Hussain’s work, you get to see what he is,” said Salahuddin. “There is nothing hidden about him. Whatever he feels or thinks, he puts it down on the canvas.”
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Hussain’s works are on display at the Spaces Gallery. Titled ‘The Winner of Undisputed War’, Hussain’s canvases offer a glimpse into his mind. Having lived his childhood in the lanes behind Heera Mandi in Lahore, his work in this particular exhibition focuses a great deal on the inhabitants of the area.
Courtesans of Heera Mandi have been depicted with as much honesty as one could imagine. Women looking outside the windows in despair, negotiating with clients in contentment, or just being huddled together in comfort, he has exhibited the figures with as much respect as his inner honesty.
“He never hid himself or his background,” said Salahuddin about his student, who is now down with illness in Lahore. “Lately, I can see some reflection about his personal state such as the hospital scene that you can see,” he said, pointing towards a painting, showing a scene from the insides of a ward with beds lined up along walls and nurses and family members moving about.
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“Hussain has used mix media on his canvases,” said curator Zainab Jafri. “We can see oil on canvas, pencil, pastels and watercolours.”
Talking further about the artistic abilities of his student, Salahuddin said that he had not seen an artist work as much as Hussain. “Being one of the rare and different students at NCA, he had been a mature painter from the very start.” Having known his student for the last four decades, he said that he had found him to be very spontaneous and emotional.
According to Salahuddin, Hussain’s work used to be rejected a lot due to its very controversial nature. “One day he just took his paintings to Mall Road and put them up for display on the road,” he said. “This caught the attention of a reporter of a foreign paper and Hussain’s work rose to recognition internationally.”
The show will continue till December 7.