Whirling and Healing opens at Art Scene
By: Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: Here is an exceptionally talented artist, Dr Mohsen Keiany. The fact that he was born and brought up in Iran enables the viewer to ‘feel’ the thrust of his work which is steeped in tradition. What tradition? It is not easy to answer the question, reason being there are strands in his work reflecting his affinity with Sufism; the kind of Sufism that one associates with the great mystic Mansoor Hallaj. And then there are aspects that have strong Persian cultural influences. This can be seen in an exhibition of the latest body of his work titled ‘Whirling and Healing’ that opened at the Art Scene Gallery on Wednesday.
The show is aesthetically rich but perhaps more than that it is a cerebral delight. Dr Keiany not only amazes the viewer with his extraordinary skill, he picks his mind too. It is a journey of a different kind. He makes the viewer travel to the past, a time zone that is not at all unfamiliar.
The large canvases with subject matter of epic proportions — shrines, palaces, horses, musical instrument and the whirling Sufis – give away his intent. In terms of technique, they speak volumes for the artist’s tremendous gift. It sometimes seems as if a scene from a period drama has been frozen in time.
Though his paintings come across as belonging to a certain time in history, Dr Keiany has painted a wide spectrum of events signifying important phases. If on the one hand there is ‘Pleasure’ (oil on canvas) indicating a particular disposition, on the other hand ‘Hilarity’ represents a different mood. Mansoor Hallaj also features, of course, in a geographical place that the viewer might find a tad strange. After a while, the nature of the artist’s work sinks in: it is the mystic’s suffering that Dr Keiany has used as a metaphor for intellectual growth.
One special work of art is ‘Social Dream’ in which the aesthetic overshadows the historic. The greenness of the whole scene actually works like crimson. The exhibition will be open till Oct 31.