I’ve always had a soft corner for Pakistani art. I’m aware that statement may sound biased given my roots, but hear me out –
From Sadequain’s calligraphic cubism to Hajra’s romantic illustrative pieces, Pakistani art boasts a full-bodied and unique range of styles rich in its illustrious heritage. It’s a melting pot of various cultures and influences and the sheer level of skill and talent is unbelievable and indeed in abundance.
Pakistani artists appear to all possess an innate, sophisticated sense of taste and aesthetics, particularly where the subject of colour is concerned.
For instance, I love the warm vibrant punch of saffron yellow in the background haloed around the earthier, ashy tones of charcoal in this eye-catching, sculptural piece by Qamar.
As much as Middle Eastern art enchants and beguiles me (and it does!) at times I crave the vivacious traditional beauty of Pakistani art.
Needless to say, Mussawir Gallery turned out to be just the ticket to quench my thirst for that particular genre!
Located in the trendy boroughs of Al Quoz, Mussawir Gallery represents a selection of exceptional Pakistani artists. The gallery has regular exhibitions showcasing some of the best talent, from young and upcoming new painters to more established classic ones.
The pristine white walls are filled with an eclectic mix of stunning, colourful and unique pieces and I personally really love how they lean towards more of a more traditional pictorial art preference rather than trendier contemporary installation, which is really refreshing.
I went to attend their latest solo show by Ali Abbas which was entitled “Garbaad” which means dusty wind. Abbas’ work is influenced by his native province of Sindh, particularly the more tribal areas and nomad inhabitants. Intriguingly, he mentions that he is inspired by sufi malangs and the cornucopia of colours and characters. “They appear to be controlled by a strange magic. Of course they are real, but somehow belong to a very unreal world.”
I found his work really mysterious and atmospheric. I really loved his use of inks and watercolours. His subtle cyan/purple grey washes were juxtaposed beautifully with touches of vibrant hues added on the tribal costumes.
Bold yet subdued – translucent yet textured, his style is filled with curious contradictions. Abbas’ attention to detail is fantastic – particularly on the faces of his subject matter and the realism of their expressions. His pieces have such a great sense of depth, with the illusion of fog and repeated use of fading backgrounds and wide open spaces in his work. He has successfully captured not only the realism, but the soul of the mysterious tribal gypsies.
Here’s a few other works I loved which are currently on display done by other artists.
I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and discovering this new space, and I definitely have plans to come back and totally, full-on stalk this gallery and find out what other amazing exhibitions they have planned!!!!