A ‘Naqsh’ of Picasso’s paintings | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

A ‘Naqsh’ of Picasso’s paintings

Shoaib Ahmed

LAHORE: An exhibition of artworks by Jamil Naqsh offered a treat to art lovers and students on Friday.

Naqsh’s works have been displayed in the city after a gap of two decades; even the last show by the artist in Lahore in 1996 was not for public consumption as it was held at former federal minister Jahangir Tareen’s place.

The two-day art show of paintings and drawings titled ‘The Bird of Time’ by Jamil Naqsh opened at Dome Hall of Royal Palm Golf and Country Club. It is organised by Islamabad-based Tanzara Art Gallery in collaboration with Jamil Naqsh Foundation. The show has been curated by gallery owner Noshi Qadir.

Ms Qadir said: “It has always been my dream that I exhibit Jamil Naqsh’s work. Though the same collection has been exhibited in Islamabad in April last, I was keen to exhibit it in Lahore too.”

She said: “We exhibit high-quality artwork and have built a reputation in six years.” She said it’s a great opportunity for the art lovers of Lahore to attend this classic show.

The 23 canvases on display in the exhibition of the series demonstrate artist’s ways of paying tribute to his early days. Faces, forms, words all appear to reverberate the bygone days and offer a nostalgic glance backwards. The 16 graphite drawings have an extraordinary quasi sculptural quality that they almost seem to invite one to touch them.

PU College of Art and Design Principal Prof Dr Rahat Naveed Masud said the graphite drawings by the artist seemed to have a great influence of legendary artist Picasso. Ms Masud said the present series of Naqsh’s work was different from his earlier work, for besides pigeons and female figures, a new element of newspapers had been brought to this collection — the newspapers in his paintings stand for comment.

She was all praise for Naqsh’s mastery over his drawings.

Jamil Naqsh’s son Cezanne Naqsh, an architect by profession, said since his father rarely exhibits his works, people wait for them to be displayed. All of his exhibitions have been well attended, he added.

Architect Nayyer Ali Dada called the occasion a very special one. “When Naqsh used to be in Pakistan, there had always been a debate among artists that why he was shy of exhibiting his work”

Mr Dada said: “The interesting thing about Jamil Naqsh’s works is that though he is a modern painter, his themes are very indigenous. He doesn’t seem to break away from his strong bond with his land. His symbols and metaphors are very much from this land like pigeons and women he paint. His style in drawings is very much inspired by Picasso,” he added.

Asad Farooqi, a former professor of National College of Arts and currently heading School of Art and Fashion Design at the Lahore City University, said: “The work is just beautiful, the way he draws female figures and pigeons is matchless; in fact he has got his own way of communication”.

An extract from an article published in a book titled ‘National Art Gallery Collection’, published by the Pakistan National Council of Arts, explains the passionate presence of pigeons and women figures in the paintings of the artist in these words. “Naqsh began to paint pigeons in 1960s. There were many implications in his choice of subject, childhood memories of pigeons strutting through the courtyard of his ancestral home and flying freely through the open windows. Years later these recollections were to be diffused into a symbol of domestic harmony.

“Then came the painted pigeons of the miniature School of Art, tiny perfectly formed transient visitors. By combining the mobile birds with the classic forms of women, Naqsh created a wondrous melding of movement and stillness using muted colours and creating textures of tactile pigments.”

The exhibition will remain on display on Saturday (today) from 12 noon to 7pm.