Iqbal Hussain’s new work reveals a darkly poignant preoccupation with death, an artistic crisis born of the violence in our midst. But this work may yet survive the changing cultural topography of Pakistan, says Raza Rumi
Being stuck in an awful traffic jam on Lahore’s Mall Road is an everlasting nightmare. This was the road which once housed the tempestuous and famously poly-amorous painter Amrita Shergil, as well as the grand old man of Indian writing in English, the legendary Khushwant Sigh, among other lost symbols of our bygone past. But mine was not a fruitless journey: I was heading to the Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery at the National College of Arts (NCA), where Iqbal Hussain’s new work was being displayed. I would not hav e gone to see this exhibition had I not heard about the significance of the show from the proficient curator of the gallery Qudsia Raheem. I liked to meet Iqbal Hussain in the throes of the walled city where he has reinvented a space for himself among his own people — entertainers, artists, traders, sex workers and a multitude of local and global visitors. Iqbal Hussain has been successful through his personal endeavors to put Lahore’s old city and its infamous red light district on the world map. He has achieved this primarily through his stupendous paintings and sublime rooftop views of Mughal monuments from the Cooco’s Den Café he owns and manages.
Iqbal Hussain’s work over the decades has brought to life the shades and aspects of sex workers from Heera Mandi around whom Hussain grew up. Most importantly, he is proud of his heritage and origins and, unlike the hypocritical and self-denying society in which he lives, he has publicly claimed ownership of this background. His work has obsessively captured the many narratives about the women who are central to Heera Mandi. In doing this, Hussain has humanized the portraits of the “dancing girl”, the aging prostitute and the honorable livelihood earner. Contrary to the religious decrees on such women, or the excessive romanticization of dancing girls in our culture, Hussain’s subjects are nothing but human. They are real and vulnerable while blessed with the ability to sing, dance and celebrate life and sex. In our socially conservative culture, made even more so since the advent of Victorian values in what was then British India, such characters have been the recipients of much derision. Hussain, through his momentous collection of paintings, has countered every stereotype and cliché that comes to mind about such women. Continue reading
Posted in Art, culture, heritage, Walled City
Tagged androon sheher, Art, bigotry, blasphemy, Burqa, extremism, Iqbal Hussain, Lahore, Lal Masjid, NCA, Pakistan, Sohbet, Walled City
(left) SELF=PORTRAIT WON [l972-2000]: ‘SADDENED MONA LISA SWEATING ( PASEENA-PASEENA) IN THE SHALIMAR GARDENS ON HER RECENT LAHORE YATRA – – (she is not a young debutante, anymore) – – , AND NOTHING TO BE HAPPY ABOUT GEOFFREY’S MOTHERLAND being drained per LAW OFF RULERS AND THEIR CUTLERY: OIL AND MIXED MEDIA, 3-D+ RELIEF; (SCULPTURAL ARTWORK MADE WITH FIBREGLASS ON PLEXIGLASS). SIZE 25 inches X 20 ½ inches.
Art of, and for, Syyed Iqbal Geoffrey – – he being a genuine mussawere (artist) and a prominent vakil ( facilitator of justice-with-love) acclaimed by Sir Herbert Read as an “Astonishing Phenomenon” and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has graciously described him as “The Arts Counsel of Great Britain – – is not a born-again outlet or some glittering outage chamaking (shinning on a Cash ‘N Carry basis) in Neverneverland. (References : Zoha Noor-Fatima A. Haider (London)* & Suellen W. Liker (Phoenix)**
(above: SELF=PORTRAIT TOO [1962-2012] : “HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN WITNESSING THE FIRST DROP OF DEW FALLING ON INDIGENOUS MAN’GO!!” oil and mixed media on cardboard-canvas; size 47 inches x 27 inches .. current token price PRs 78600.92P. (may not be acquired at this important stage of its creation by any foreigner). Subject to increases with notice.)
Hazoori Bagh: A place where people would gather to listen to the best of literature.
By Sher Ali Khan
During the time of the British rule in India, Lahore was known as the “Paris of India”. The reasons are quite clear. To begin with, romance in the east can be defined as the individualistic struggle of the heart. Romantics provide inspiration to a society in their daily lives. The romance of ones city is judged by the general ambience created within the realm of that society. A romantic culture is sustained through literature and arts. Writers, poets, and artists would frequent teahouses where they would orate and document the experiences of the city.
To start out, the Mughals instilled a romantic quality into Lahore by developing monuments such as the elegant Badshahi Masjid and the Lahore Fort and then the British gave to the city one of the most beautiful green spaces known as Lawrence Gardens. Furthermore, the Mughals created a proud and close people culture that would inspire literature and art for many years.
One of the stories from the Mughal era is regarding the wealthy emperor Shah Jahan who constructed a palace in the imposing confines of the Lahore Fort to honour his wife Mumtaz Mahal. As the mother of his sixteen children, Mumtaz Mahal was the love of his life. The general assumption is that she passed without ever seeing the Shish Mahal. Continue reading
Posted in Lahore
Tagged Art, British rule, culture, emperor Akbar, hazoori bagh, India, Kim, Lahore, motif, Mughal, Mumtaz Mahal, Pakistan, Rudyard Kipling, Shish Mahal
By MELIK KAYLAN
The overriding question you will likely take into the Asia Society’s show of Pakistani artists is, “What do they think of what’s happening to their country?” How do artists address the Islamist violence in their midst—and if they don’t address it, why not? How freely can they treat such issues without fear of reprisal? What kind of art flourishes in such surroundings? Continue reading
Posted in Art, Events, Lahore, Lifestyle
Tagged Art, artists, asia, display, event, Lahore, paintings, Pakistan, Salima Hashmi, terrorism
Oct. 8: Indian-born producer-director Ismail Merchant’s personal art collection sold for £653,000 at an auction by Christie’s in London.
The highest price was paid for the painting by Hungarian artist August Theodor Schoefft, entitled The Thugs of India halt at the shrine of Ganesh, which was sold for £91,250 to a private British collector. The unusually large painting was estimated to sell for £70,000-100,000. Continue reading
By Ali Usman
LAHORE: The graduates of the first Gurmukhi Certificate Course were awarded certificates on Wednesday after the completion of the course at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture (PILAAC).
The Gurmukhi Learning Certificate Course – the first course of its kind in Pakistan to teach the Gurmukhi script of Punjabi commenced at the institute last month. Some 35 students were registered for the course, of which 21 qualified the final examination. Gurmukhi is the universal script used for writing Punjabi, and is quite close to the Hindi script. In Pakistan, the Shahmukhi script (also called the Persian script by some) is used for writing Punjabi. Continue reading
Schedule for Faiz Ghar activities.
April /May/June 2009.
Urdu Baithak/Sing along sessions
‘Story hour’ for children 5 years and above.
Time: Every Sunday from 5.00 to 6.00 pm
Storytellers: conducted alternatively by Mr. Shoaib Hashmi, Dr. Arfa Syeda, Mr. Naveed Riaz, Mrs. Salima Hashmi, Mrs. Moneeza Hashmi and others
This will be followed by a sing along session with Ms. Zara David on keyboard.
Fees: No registration or fees. Come one, come all. Continue reading
M Ilyas Khan of BBC News writes on Lahore’s famous puppet shows are among arts programmes hit by militancy
They are laying the scene for the weekend party at an outhouse across the back lawns of a sprawling villa in the Gulberg locality of Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital.
But the hosts are increasingly nervous.
“These days you have to be very careful about who to invite and who to pass over, because the word goes around and there are people who don’t like such get-togethers,” says one of the hosts, requesting not to be named.
Lahore’s party scene has been unlike any other in Pakistan, bringing together aspiring artists, their potential promoters, business magnates, media dons, bureaucrats and politicians.
But the growing influence of armed religious groups now threatens the late night revelries of the city’s whisky-drinking professionals and topless dancers. Continue reading
It is not easy to write about Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941-1999), an artist whose life and work in so many ways encapsulates the troubled soul of Pakistan. Ten years ago, on a grey, brutal January day, the great artist Akhlaq and his gifted daughter, Jahanara, were shot dead. This was not a run-of-the-mill incident. The innate humanism of Akhlaq and his family was shattered to bits, much like the splintered state of Pakistan, where art and life are either marginalised, silenced or blown to pieces.On this January afternoon, Shahbaz Butt, an acquaintance of Pappu Sain, shot Jahanara and her fiancé, Al-Noor. Jahanara, 24 years old at the time, fell on the ground, to die. The noise, alarming Akhlaq and his fellow artist Anwar Saeed, sent them rushing in to see what had happened. Anwar Saeed was injured by Shahbaz, who shot Akhlaq. He died on the spot..Shahbaz now languishes in jail, while Pakistan is deprived of two inimitable souls. It is unclear what prompted Shahbaz to wreak this senseless violence: drugs, inability to cope with life or an extreme sense of inadequacy that could only be corrected through violence.
read more here
Posted in Art
Tagged Akhlaq, ALi, Art, artist, delhi, hashmi, Lahore, modernism, NCA, painter, Pakistan, Salima, Shakir, Zahoor
Fifty art pieces donated by Lahore Museum
Exhibition intended to promote Pakistan as an art-loving country
By Ali Usman
LAHORE : An exhibition of sculptures and artwork from the Gandhara Civilization, made up of exhibits from Pakistan museums, will be held in Germany in November to promote the country’s rich civilization and encourage tourists to visit it.
Fifty art pieces have been donated by the Lahore Museum, which boasts one of the richest art collections of the Gandhara Civilization. The exhibits are scheduled for display in the cities of Berlin, Bonn and Zurich. Earlier, the exhibition was scheduled was only Berlin and Bonn, but German authorities have requested the Pakistan government that they be displayed in Zurich also. The exhibition also includes art pieces from the Taxila Museum, the National Museum of Pakistan, Karachi and others. Information, Culture and Youth Affairs Secretary Orya Jan Maqbool, Lahore Museum Director Ashgar Nadeedm Syed, and Lahore Museum Gandhara Section head will travel to Germany with the exhibit for its inauguration. The inaugural ceremony is expected for November 22 and the exhibit will span a period of two months. Continue reading
By Ali Usman
LAHORE: The World Performing Arts Festival received its largest crowd of the year on Sunday, as many families availed the holiday to visit the fair and observe the performances on offer.
However, most families seemed to differ on which performances they should attend and several people were seen choosing different exhibitions and plays to watch on their own, while their family members attended different performances.
Iqbal Ahmed, one such viewer at the festival, said that he and his family had arrived at the festival together but upon reaching it had differed on what they should watch. He said that they had decided to go their separate ways and watch the shows that interested them individually instead of watching the same things. Ahmed, who was watching the classical dance performance, said that his wife and daughter had decided to attend the puppetry show, while his son had preferred to watch drama. Continue reading
* Work receives great appreciation n Visitor says young artists could use such exhibitions to improve artistic skills
Daily Times Report
LAHORE: The last of the bohemian paintings by the late Bashir Mirza were put on display at the Ejaz Art Gallery to highlight the noted artist’s work and life on Saturday. The paintings were not the original ones, instead, they were the digital prints of the original paintings.
* By Afnan Khan
LAHORE: Croweaters, the art gallery situated in a 150-year-old building in Anarkali, may soon be closing its doors as the owners have decided, in principle, to shut it down due to a perceived lack of appreciation of the liberal arts.
The gallery’s fate appears to have been directly tied to that of its owner, MP Bhandara, who died in a road accident in June 2008, during his visit to China. Bhandara and his family have owned the site for more than 150 years and his ancestors used to both live in the current art gallery and run several businesses, including a restaurant, a café, a liquor shop and finally an art gallery.
The gallery was officially launched under the name of Croweaters in 1999 — a name Bhandara chose to depict his affection for his sister, Bapsi Sidhwa, who has earned world renown for her books, including The Crow Eaters, The Bride and An American Brat. From the time it started until now, the gallery has hosted dozens of art exhibitions, including works by Tasaduq Suhail, Changaiz Sultan, Mashkoor Raza and Naheed Raza. The gallery also contains a collection of 200 rare paintings created by famous painters such as Gulgee, Sadqain and Ahmad Khan. Speaking to Daily Times, one of the gallery workers said that the people working in the place were true art lovers and had developed an emotional relationship to the gallery due to both its artistic background and their affiliation with MP Bhandara. Continue reading
‘Lahore — My Love’
* Farida Batool’s hard-hitting socio-political commentary on display at Rohtas 2
Daily Times Staff Report
LAHORE: Farida Batool’s Lahore – My Love opened at Rohtas 2 on Wednesday.
The work marks a strong political and social note dealing with the current situation prevailing in the country. The artist has expressed herself through clear images and elaborate names. A painting, titled Qaum, Mulk, Sultanat (Nation, country, empire), has a satirical tone. The painting portrays a building on The Mall burnt during the February 2006 protests. The painting comments on how mobs destroy the country’s assets.
Another painting, Thandi Sarak, comments on the large number of protests the country had witnessed last year. Thandi Sarak (The Mall) was the favourite rendezvous of the protestors. Continue reading
Posted in Lahore
Tagged Art, painting
Mahboob Ali, the only woodcut artist of Pakistan has sent me more images of his works. During our recent meeting in Lahore, he also told me how, over the decades, his work progressed and how hard he has tried to train more woodcut artists. I have posted several images of his works here .
Mahboob Ali is an intriguing yet simple personality with stories and real-life experiences of the intensive process of making woodcuts. Once can spend hours watching him use his hands and creative imagination.
The image above is extremely representative of his work. This work shows a contemporary picture of what happens outside one of the historical gates of old Lahore (the walled city).
More images here.
I will write more about our last meeting later.
Art historian Prof Dr Ejaz Anwar said that Lahore had a very important place as a historical city and was no less significant than other historical cities like London, Paris, Rome or Madrid. He said the city was heir to an ancient civilisation, but encroachments were ruining historical monuments in the city. He said the authorities were not doing anything against the practice. Dr Anwar said that in the years he had spent in Rome, Paris and Cairo, he had witnessed that the governments had preserved their civilisations. He said that the way the Walled City was filled with encroachments was presenting Lahore as the most polluted and ill-preserved cities in the world. He said the encroachers were throwing garbage, toxic substances and various chemicals around monuments, destroying the city’s heritage. Dr Anwar said that the vibration of heavy vehicles at Lorry Adda was gradually weakening the Lahore Fort, which is present right in front of the bus stand. He said the vibration had also destroyed a quadrangle situated beside the bus stand. He said the law-enforcement agencies were providing the encroachers electricity and water, instead of forcing them out. staff report
Source: The Daily Times
Photo Originally uploaded by Ane Malik
Ane Malik has a great eye for capturing the ordinary and not-so-ordinary glipmses of Lahore. Here a traditional donkey-cart, now disallowed on the main roads, is decorated with much love and meaning.
The names of Allah and the major saints of the subcontinent have been painted as good luck charms.
Lahore Nama will feature her photos on this space.
Watch out for more..