Painting pigeons in a traditional way
By: Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: In art, the repetition of a subject lends the artwork the kind of one-dimensionality that can make the viewer experience visual fatigue. If the artist keeps rediscovering something revelatory in their chosen subject only then can they sustain the viewer’s interest. It is not an easy task to draw a bird and impart fresh symbolism to it on a regular basis. An exhibition of Meerza Ali’s works, which is under way at the Kunj Art Gallery, is noteworthy for the artist’s passion with which he has gone about his job. He has primarily drawn pigeons and some other pieces on display complement the rest of the exhibition reasonably well.
Pigeons symbolise bliss. Some experts take it as marital bliss, some consider it a feeling of inner satisfaction and others believe it’s to do with collective contentment. But pigeons in our part of the world also depict a certain traditional element that is akin to our values. Then there are quite a few other ways of treating the bird. These days, some young Internet savvy people in France are running a campaign against the move of the country’s president to increase taxes on small businesses. They are known as Les Pigeons.
There was a time when the bird was used as a messenger and poets have addressed the species with affection only because of its ability to communicate. With Meerza Ali, pigeons can be looked at as something that the artist appears to be traditionally attached to. There is a reason for it. The colours that he has used and the places where his favourite bird (or a flock of pigeons) is seen perched have a time-honoured feel to them. This does not mean that the artist has compromised on contemporary values. The acrylic-on-canvas paintings are very much present-day in terms of technique – without losing sight of tradition.
The exhibition will continue till Oct 26.