Art Gallery impressive debut
KARACHI, Feb 7: Gandhara Art is an art gallery run by a Pakistani couple in Hong Kong whose mission is to showcase Pakistani artists. The duo has now set up a similar institution back home in Karachi . Gandhara opened its doors with an inaugural exhibition of some scintillating works in the miniature style, but with contemporary themes. Muddassar Manzoor’s work is, however, refreshingly different from some of his colleagues working on current themes.
The exhibition, curated by the young and enthusiastic Amna Naqvi, will be on for a month on its premises in Clifton before moving to Hong Kong, where the 18 paintings (10 of which have already been booked by buyers in Karachi) will be opened to art enthusiasts, who had until recently not known anything about contemporary Pakistani art. Incidentally, visual arts from India, when put up on sale, fetch artists from across the Wagha border enviable prices.
This would be Gandhara’s fourth exhibition of Pakistani artists, ranging from stalwarts like Sadeqain and Gulgee to talented newcomers, in Hong Kong and like the previous three shows, this will be accompanied by professionally produced catalogues of the works on display with notes on the participating artists. All the four catalogues are available for viewing and/or buying at the exhibition in Karachi.
For Muddasar Manzoor this will not be the first time that his work will travel to other countries. His paintings have been exhibited in France (Paris and Nice), Korea and India but it will be his first solo in a distant land.
His work shows meticulous details which is the hallmark of miniaturist paintings. He uses gauche with occasional water colour. He also places gold and silver leaves with amazing results. There is just one character in each of his works — a female, who is shown in a state of meditation like a Sufi.
The ornamental border, which is a feature of traditional miniatures, is sparingly used, for whatever reason. But what impresses a viewer the most are his fine details. Each strand of hair is distinguishable and each crease in the women’s apparels has been painstakingly drawn. His palette is rich in colours and the surface is, to quote Salima Hashmi, “treated like a jewel”.
The NCA graduate, holding a distinction in miniatures, has drawn clouds, trees, sea shells, and of course his protagonist — woman — with love and care. He seems to be telling a story in each one of his images, which is why the exhibition has been titled Surreal Narratives.