Brushstrokes of watercolours bring Karachi, its saints to life
By: Hifza Shah Jillani
KARACHI: With the use of watercolours, artists Abdul Hayee and Sarfraz Musawwir have explored rural and urban life, landscape and cityscape, and nature and mortar in their recent works.
The painters have drawn inspiration from Karachi and all that the city has to offer – cityscape of old buildings in Saddar, docks at the sea shores encapsulating the lives of fishermen, village life in Malir and Memon Goth and the spiritual and transcendental characters seen at the Sufi shrines.
The Fine Art Pakistan Gallery launched the two-person exhibition of paintings, Nature and Mortar, on Friday, June 14 which will continue till June 22.
By bringing together two different signature styles and a decade-long collection of the two artists, curators Asma Ahmed and Mohammad Ahmed, anticipate a positive response from art admirers.
In the curators’ opinion, watercolours can create a serene effect and can easily tell the artists’ years of experience. “You can see the invested 40 years of experience in their paintings,” said Asma. “Control is the most important attribute in a good painter and these artists have mastered the skill with time.”
Capturing scenic beauty
Abdul Hayee, 65, with over 40 years of experience, considers himself as “soft as water” while explaining how a medium can speak volumes about an artist. He says that even without a ‘Naari, Gaari, Baari’ [woman, car and house], which is a Bengali phrase for a happy and successful man, he has found happiness and loves spending hours on a location with his paintbrushes.
“As compared to photography, painting offers the option to spruce up a location with imagination,” said the artist.
According to Faisal Mohammad, a businessman and an avid art enthusiast, any painting that is appealing enough to look at constantly, is a potential collectible. Revealing his particular interest for the Hayee’s dockyard painting he said, “The mystery painted through the hues in the picture makes it an intense eye-catcher.”
Sense of belonging
Sarfraz Musawwir’s paintings give an insight into his imagination, mired with a tinge of inspiration that the artist experiences through his fondness for people and his surroundings.”An artist has the responsibility of representing his society and showing his attachment towards it by displaying his treasures – such as the people, heritage and society.”
He remembers painting with a passion since his childhood, which led him to develop a sense of belonging to Karachi. In his cityscape paintings, he beautifully paints the old Karachi buildings, giving a completely new feel to the old parts of the city.
Faisal commented on the shades of grey he has used that creates the depth embedded in old parts of the city. He further added that he could somehow feel the spiritual connection in the saintly characters he had painted. “The old men in the portraits possess a sense of mystery.”
On drawing portraits of saint-like, figures Musawwir said these extraordinary men were an integral part of our society, and had a spiritual connection with God.