A tribute to Faiz in colours and lines
Mohsin S. Jaffri
The Faiz Art Prize honours Faiz Ahmed Faiz on his birth centennial this year
In an exciting event linking art and literature starting today, artists from Pakistan and abroad have paid tribute to Faiz Ahmed Faiz by interpreting his poetry and philosophy in the language of colours and lines. Some 150 postcards beautifully painted by artists, where each work is an attempt at discovering Faiz and paying tribute to him in their own language, depict the meaning of a verse, a Ghazal or a Nazm or simply Faiz’s philosophy.
The exhibition, to be inaugurated at a ceremony today, will be open to the public from tomorrow (Tuesday) at the historic Gallerie Sadequain in Frere Hall. The entries will be exhibited and judged for special prizes and then sold through a silent auction on October 9 to collect funds for a noble cause: the rebuilding of an ancient pottersÂ’ village, Yarak near Dera Ismail Khan, where homes and workplaces were destroyed by floods in 2010. The project and exhibition is organised by Nukta Art, the Jang Group and Times of India’s peace initiative Aman ki Asha and the Progressive Writers Association.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz is a name that inspires awe and takes a person to a certain spiritual plane. He has been accepted in the subcontinent and beyond as a literary genius who is capable of crafting words, constructing verses by devising his own balance, and designing a blend of philosophy and literature. In his poetry, there are many colours: of passion, of pain and ecstasy, and of compassion and humility.
Postcards to Faiz comprise artists’ tribute to what Faiz Ahmed Faiz stood for– brotherhood among all nations. The poetry of Faiz is against oppression, against exploitation, against ethnic division, against boundaries and separation and against religious discrimination. He stood for the betterment of mankind, the dignity of humanity and all that is decent and civilised
It will not be an easy task to interpret Faiz’s thoughts in colours and lines, but at the same time artists have depicted many social and cultural issues in the abstract, in their own visual language. It promises to be a fascinating exhibition of postcards depicting Faiz’s life, philosophy and poetry, choices that artists have made based on their skills, imaginative powers and interpretational abilities.
Established artists and students alike are taking part in this postcard painting. They will not only pay tribute to the great poet but also help the cause of resettling the displaced potters to their own homes and to enable them to work once again in their restored workplaces. The organisers of this ambitious project have undertaken the noble cause in a most befitting manner. It is expected that a large number of people will come out to support this cause and participants in the silent auction will be generous.
To paint a thought, a feeling, love, passion, pain and ecstasy is not an easy task except when these are interpreted in the abstract in the language of colours and lines. But then this is what artists understand and this is how they try to transfer their thoughts on canvas.
In his poem: “Loneliness” a strong depiction of being away from a friend’s company is expressed beautifully:
Today loneliness like a well-tried friend
Has come to be my evening wine-pourer
We sit together waiting for the moon to rise
And set your image gleaming in every shadow
The Faiz Art Prize will be unveiled at the inauguration of the exhibition today. This prize was especially created by Pakistan’s leading sculptor, Shahid Sajjad. This is not all. Internationally renowned scientist, Dr Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, who created the original work, was a close friend of Faiz.
There is special attraction as the exhibition space has been designed by renowned architect Habib Fida Ali. The venue, Frere Hall itself has a historical background as the mural on the ceiling is the last mural of Sadequain and the gallery there is therefore known as Gallerie Sadequain.
Let me end this article by reciting Faiz’s prayer (Dua):
We for whom prayer is a custom forgotten,
We who except for love’s flame
Know neither idol nor god – Come; let us too lift our hands,
Make our petition that life, our loved mistress,
Smooth today’s venom with sweets of tomorrow –
Lighten on them that lack strength for its burden
Time, and the nights and the days –
Brighten with lamps in their darkness those eyes
Dawn’s rosy face cannot touch!
Source: The News