Salman Farooqi showcases at ArtScene Gallery
Viewing the work of Salman Farooqi in exhibition is a great visual pleasure. The artist’s brilliant use of colour and penchant for Cubism in his paintings of sea and cityscapes, are a pleasure to behold. Farooqi’s latest series of acrylic on canvas paintings was mounted at the ArtScene Gallery, Karachi, and in the work a subtle play of colour created patterns of light diffused through darker layers of paint creating a third dimensional effect. One entered the gallery and was greeted by a stunning, 54x102 inch triptych with a dominant orange shade suggesting a city by the sea, with reflections of architecture and sky in the water. Other smaller cityscapes were painted in dominant shades of blue, while a beautiful triptych of the city at night was worked in soothing evening shades with a large full moon and myriad tiny windows of light. In many of the artists works the delicate patchwork of light and darker shades created patterns on the surfaces of the artworks; shapes determined by the viscosity and application of the media, and the speed of its impact upon the surface. In Farooqi’s art, the interactions of the varied shades of colours give subtle movement to the artist’s composition and a sensuous richness. For Karachi-ites the sea is an important factor of life, often artists include seascapes as a feature of their artistic imagery. In Farooqui’s work one discovers brightly coloured boats featured, painted in a strong, pleasing signature style. In harmonious shades of grays, palest blues interspersed with bright orange flags; one finds an evening scene at the harbour. A large vertical artwork displayed over a staircase in the gallery was the focus of attention for many of the visitors, painted with colours that cheered the eye. Several artists attended Farooqi’s show including Tariq Javed and Nahid Siddiqui who were enthralled by the work. One singular factor of his oeuvre is the lack of human presence in the artworks, no element is there to disturb the beauty of the scene.
Farooqi’s experience of art stretches back to the years of his childhood. His appreciative family recognised his love of drawing and encouraged him in his interest, and at an early age sketch books were filled with images of the world around him portrayed in coloured pencils, crayons and watercolours. It appears that fate took a hand in his future as at that time a friendly neighbour happened to be the famous studio artist Iqbal Mehdi, who dropping in to his house on occasions became aware of Farooqi’s potential. Although the boy was just 12 years old at that time, Iqbal Mehdi was impressed and invited him to spend time and learn about art in his studio. Thus Farooqi began to experience the activity of the working studio. At that time there was a group of gifted young artists working with Iqbal Mehdi and Farooqi was fascinated by the atmosphere. He would drop into the studio after school whenever possible enjoying the company of the artists. He continued to visit the studio, sometimes taking his own artwork along, until he had completed his scholastic education and qualified to join the Karachi School of Art.