Peace Through Art

An exhibition of faculty and alumni of CEAD

  • 30 Sep - 06 Oct, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Art

The International Watercolour Society that was founded in 2011 by Atanur Dogan in the historic town of Teos, Turkey, now has 70 branches across the world.

A branch of the Society was opened in 2015 with the distinguished artist Ali Abbas Syed as the country head. In 2016, the 1st International Watercolor Biennale was held in Pakistan. Artist guests from several countries participated in a workshop held in Jamshoro, where the Centre of Excellence in Art and Design (CEAD), Mehran University is situated.

Through exhibitions of the work of CEAD students and their mentors, one is aware of the excellent work emerging from Jamshoro.

A recent exhibition of the work of artists of CEAD took place at the Artscene Gallery and it was an impressive, well-attended event. Visitors were delighted to hear from Professor Dr Bhai Khan Shar, that such exhibitions will be an annual event from now onwards. Both he, and Professor Dr M Aslam Uqaili, mentioned their expectancy of the 2nd International Watercolour Exhibition, scheduled to take place in Karachi, mid-February 2018.

Viewing the art on show, one recognised in the watercolour and pencil artworks of Abdul Malik Channa, several regular art gallery visitors whom, all unknowing, the artist had made the subject of his work.

“For me, art lovers and admirers are as much important as art itself. They are the true source of motivation and encouragement for the artist to create and flourish,” Abdul Malik Channa shares.

The peerless work of the internationally celebrated artist, Ali Abbas Syed, consisted of two watercolour paintings from the internationally acclaimed series, Colours of the Desert.

Ali Abbas famously paints the historic environment of Sufi shrines and the lives of the age-old gypsies.

Outstanding compositions by Faiz Supro showed portraits of women in their native dress formed with pen and acrylic paint on canvas. The portraits were perfectly drawn with minimum, very effective colour effects.

The two artworks contributed by Fazal Ellah Khan were titled Social Ethics. One work painted with oil on canvas portrayed a group of women walking besides a group of ponies; another photo etching portrayed young women riding the animals. About his work, Khan shared, “My work depicts the underprivileged and yet very hardworking khanabadosh women of our country.”

The well-known painter Hussain Chandio, with several successful exhibitions to his credit, paints people and streets from – in his own words – ‘a bird’s eye view’. “Richly embroidered dresses with bright colours of females walking in streets with children and their menfolk, I paint from a bird’s eye view like colours and textures are spread on earth,” he talks about his style of work. He paints as though he is looking down on the passers-by from a tall building, creating areas of sign and colour in his acrylic on canvas paintings.

Painting with oil on canvas, Kashif Shahzad celebrates the land he lives in, travelling and commemorating his surroundings with unusual angles.

Another artist, Manzoor Ali Solangi, has painted several strong and moving series on the wrongs of social systems using takhti as his symbolic signature. Here, his work depicts women at work dramatised by the beauty of their colourful clothes and surroundings.

With graceful birds against circles of exotic colour, Maryam Irshad titles her mixed media artwork, Peace.

Marooha Mohsin works in the media of woodcut and etching, recollecting childhood stories that inspire her work.

Nature is the inspiration for Muhammad Asad Gulzar’s work along with beautiful detail; a jasmine flower painted with oil on canvas. The painting comes with the artist’s message: “Jasmine represents affection, romance and eternal love…”

In her detailed, excellently painted village scenes, Murk Malik reveals childhood memories that are ‘Carved very deep inside me…’

Nusrat Raza Mangi shows oil on canvas landscapes titled, Shadows and Reflections. “Reflections and Shadows may express me well through my artwork,” she reveals.

In her oil on canvas paintings, Qurat-ul-Ain portrays her fascination with nature: “Particularly the sky… infinity, light, rain colours. Sky is a nurturer of life,” she adds.

Painting exotic landscapes with oil on canvas, Usra Shaikh creates mood paintings that express her inner thoughts and feelings.

Zubair Ahmed Bhutto delights the viewer with his mix media wasli portraits of his delightful pets. “Persian cats with soft, fluffy and curly hair are the subject of my work,” he remarks.

Viewing the varied work and feelings of all the artists, the words of Professor Shakir Ali came to mind: “Each one of us is born with a bird in him, free and unfettered reaching out for the infinite. But owing to the prejudice of our civilisation, the custom of our families and social conventions, that bird is caged and loses it s notes of freedom. I am trying to find that bird.”

I feel sure that Shakir Ali would have celebrated so many unfettered birds. •