Poetic fantasies in watercolours
By: Ahtesham Azhar
KARACHI: Fine Arts Pakistan (FAP) has organised a group exhibition titled ‘Nature and Mortar’ by Abdul Hayee and Sarfraz Musawir featured on Sufism and natural beauty on the earth.
Around 48 paintings are on display on the gallery walls.
Musawir’s paintings revolve around two themes, Sufism and cityscapes.
In one of Musawir’s paintings, a Sufi plays a horn. Loosely attired in typical Sufi clothes, wearing rings and beads hanging from the horn, it is a vibrant and colourful piece. Musawir captured the scene, which we often witness while visiting ‘Dargahs’. The traditional pompoms, ribbons and beads give the painting the necessary depth one feels while having a spiritual experience.
Similarly, another painting is also about a Sufi wearing loose light green dress with a traditional green-Sufi-turban, symbolic of the faqeers who live on different ‘mazars’ in Sindh and Punjab. The Sufi also carries a staff, and has a white beard, another sign of wisdom and spirituality.
His cityscapes portray busy lanes, showing constant conflict among traffic and pedestrians. The dynamism of cities is very much evident in each of his works. Where colours show a movement and rythym, often enhanced by a continuous, but hidden stroke.
The concrete jungle however is vibrant when it comes to colours and patterns, which the artist has captured brilliantly. The painting also shows huge buildings around the streets, and busy markets in large cities. The colours used in the cityscape reflect the same mix as the ones used for painting the Sufis; dark, with hints of light in yellow and white.
He also tried to show pollution, an ever-present evil in big cities. In another painting the artist depicts a picturesque scene of houses near a lake. Musawir’s watercolours are a perfect blend of light, shadow and darkness, on paper.
Talking to Daily Times, Musawir said that he is known for his themes already, since he has been working on it for a long time.
“My paintings are on realistic themes,” he said, adding that people are perturbed now and to reduce these feelings, he tries to bring people towards the beauty of art. “I try to present routine things, which we neglect in our daily life,” he added.
He describes his work as a perfect blend of imagination and reality. Cityscapes and architecture inspire him and therefore remain the main focus of his work. He impeccably depicts landmarks of cities with subtle mix of elements of his own imagination to present a view of the city that is not only serene but uniquely his own.
Musawir was born in Umarkot in the province of Sindh in 1960. Although qualified with a post-graduate degree in Physics, he decided to pursue a career in art, which subsequently brought him great success. He is self-taught and remains one of the most critically acclaimed watercolour artists in Pakistan. Musawir has participated in many national and international group exhibitions and has held several solo shows in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Similarly, Hayee has also chosen to work on two themes; one is natural beauty of valleys while the other is seaside.
His medium is also watercolour, which he has used to render beautiful, serene landscapes and seascapes. Especially of boats at the harbour, surrounded by fishermen and in some cases a lot of seagulls.
Or the views of village lanes, interspersed with cattle grazing in the background or a stream running nearby.
Hayee has focused on nature and foliage in village scenes, while in seascapes his main focus are the boats and dinghies.
Abdul Hayee did his diploma in Fine Arts from KSA in 1971. He is one of the few watercolour artists, who paint in late afternoon, enjoying the deepening shadows. He was a source of encouragement to groups of younger artists and art students who assembled on holidays to paint from nature. Malir, West Wharf, Karachi and its environs were painted with a loving eye to detail. A largely self-taught artist, Hayee paints for his own satisfaction, rather than for display. Though his work is popular, held by local galleries and seen frequently in group displays, his obsessions is with the vagaries of nature. A desire to capture the light and shadow he finds in fields, on water and sun dappled paths.