KARACHI: Distinguished photographer Philip Halsman once said, “A true portrait should, today and 100 years from today, the testimony of how this person looked and what kind of human being he was.”
Prof Dr Mohammad Ali Bhatti is known for making portraits. An exhibition of his works opened at the Ocean Art Gallery on Saturday.
It is primarily an attempt at coming up with candid portraiture, but what stands out is the splash of loud, not-so-heavy-on-the-eyes colours that provide the backdrop to the subjects (acrylic on canvas) and at the same time look to be their integral component.
The people that Prof Bhatti has chosen for his work, as he usually does, are the regular, vibrant rustic people.
While they may or may not belong to one social stratum, it is their distinctive styles of living that sets them apart.
For example, if the mirth on the face of a Thari girl with eyes looking out of the frame can be bracketed into a certain category, the traditional, clingy mother-child relation makes the viewer think along different lines.
Thrown in the mix are a few exhibits in which jogis and malangs are seen engaged in their respective pursuits (be it dancing like the whirlwind or playing a musical instrument to attract people’s attention).
All of this is happening as colours get splashed on the canvas.
These colours can dazzle the viewer or make him/her look at the paintings for a second time, after a brief pause.
The exhibition will run till April 11.