Capturing Benazir’s radiance on canvas
Among paintings on display is a water colour by Somal Solangi, which radiates the characteristic charm in Benanir Bhutto’s smile. Another impressive work titled ‘Visionary woman’, an oil-on-canvas, shows a dashing young Benazir in a blue shirt
Karachi it calls for real effort to perpetuate the memory of important personalities, especially those who have made a mark for themselves through their altruism, through their love for the people.
As the years roll on, events and people are gradually erased from our memory, no matter how much they may have mattered to the people they led.For instance, who today really remembers Pitt the Elder and Pitt the Younger, the two greatest prime ministers Britain ever had? Who remembers Britain’s first Labour prime minister, Ramsay McDonald? One would have to leaf through dusty books, gone brittle with years, to find out about them.
“Time like an ever-rolling stream bears all its sons away” wrote the great hymn writer Isaac Watts. Hence, we have to make a herculean effort to keep the memory of our benefactors alive for centuries to come.Thursday evening saw one such effort, a paintings and photographic exhibition on various facets of Benazir Bhutto’s personality, titled, “We the People”. The walls of the Sadequain Gallery at Frere Hall were adorned with her paintings by 30 artists. All of these stood out for their clarity and precision. However, there were some that deserved special mention.
There was one of her portraits done in ash and powders. It was a kind of a mural by Batool Zehra. It could certainly be termed a masterpiece. Even though black-and-white, it was very impressive indeed.Then there was a water colour by Somal Solangi, which radiated the characteristic charm in her smile. However, by this correspondent’s reckoning, the most impressive was one titled, “Visionary woman”, showing a dashing young Benazir in a blue shirt, an oil-on-canvas. Despite the very somber expression, she looks absolutely gorgeous. The work is by SM Raza. While there is no smile, the facial expression makes it clear that she is envisioning an issue, and is deep in thought.
This perhaps is the crowning glory of the exhibition. Then there’s an untitled one showing her in a very sombre and serious facial expression, the expression bordering on a frown. It is said that that would be the expression on her face whenever she was miffed at the buffoonery of a colleague or an assistant.The exhibition was hosted by Sharmila Faruqui, special assistant to chief minister for culture and tourism, and curated by Mehreen Hashmi of the National Museum. The show will continue till June 24, except Saturday and Sunday, between 10am and 3pm.