KARACHI: It is amazing how the art of calligraphy has evolved over hundreds of years, always attracting artists’ attention with renewed spirit. To add to its charm, the room for experimentation with the form has also been quite a revelation, because it is no mean achievement to create extraordinary figures using content which is fixed and unalterable.
This can be seen at a four-day exhibition of calligraphic works that opened at the Arts Council’s Ahmed Pervaiz Gallery on Wednesday evening.
More than 70 artists have put their 113 artworks on display, which makes the show a relatively large one. But it’s not the scale that makes its worth visiting. It’s the quality of work, the diversity of calligraphic interpretations that makes it different. For example, Aftab Zafar nicely blurs in his mixed media painting the difference between geometric shapes and the text that artists often use in such an endeavour. He doesn’t boggle the viewer’s mind, rather makes his artwork obvious by introducing triangles and circles and at the same time doesn’t move away from the basic norms of calligraphy. Call it conceptual art if you will. It is quality art.
Fasihuddin Qureshi employs three-colour serigraphy on canvas and comes up with a very fine work of art. The screen printing technique requires a certain kind of finesse and Qureshi knows it well. He treats the technique accordingly and creates a labyrinth of letters, a labyrinth that’s not difficult to unriddle.
Shakil Ismail uses quite a few scripts in one piece and impresses with the dexterity with which he works, while Muhammad Waseem, like Aftab Zafar, opts for the path where shapes merge with the text seamlessly.
Then there are those who have remained simple and uncomplicated in their approach. In that regard, Husna Naz’s artworks are worth taking note of.