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- Saturday, May 25, 2013 - From Print Edition




Running a studio in New York, Mumtaz Hussain, showcased his film and video installation at the NCA Rawalpindi Campus here on Friday.


Mumtaz Hussain received his formal art education from National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, in 1978. He moved to London and later to Paris to explore avenues in art and did his Masters in Graphic Design. He was an art director at Polo Ralph Lauren and then became the art director at the renowned fashion house Calvin Klein. Hussain finds a nexus between nature and art as you cannot separate the two. In all, Mumtaz has made five feature films in which the first one was screened on Friday.


Hussain’s feature length film art=(love)2, which is based on Jalaluddin Rumi has received many international awards and official selections for festivals among them are Jaipur International Film Festival Best Cinematography feature length category, 2013, Award of Merit 2012 Lucerne International Film Festival, Switzerland, Gold Winner Award 2012 Prestige Film Festival Hollywood, Platinum Reel Award Standout Filmmaking 2012, Nevada Film Festival, Official Selection Vegas Cine Festival 2012 and Official Selection Delhi International Festival 2012 The film’s editor is a famous Hollywood professional, namely Chris Holmes (Rocky1, Rocky2, Donnie Brasco); the film’s composer, Joe Delia composed films like King of New York, Bad Lieutenant, The Funeral, Caged Fury etc.


Talking to ‘The News’, he said: “My second project, ‘Soul of Civilisation’ was made for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a video installation based on images of the Indus Valley Civilisation. It’s an experiment of virtual three dimensions: images are cast on three screens at different distances giving the echo of the civilisation from a distance. Since water plays an important role in this Civilisation, images appear in the form of water waves. It is interesting to note that not a single killing weapon was retrieved from the Indus Valley civilisation “Water is life in the Indus Valley. The civilisation of the Indus Valley, like all ancient civilisations is riverine. The six waterways of the region provide the lifeblood of a culture, which even today, maintains its characteristic images and symbols. While ruling elites come and go this folk culture breathes through the soul of those who have lived and toiled for millennia,” he maintains.


Hussain said that it is interesting to note that not a single killing weapon was retrieved from the Indus Valley civilisation. We are from that civilisation where peace prevailed and there was only imported violence or tribal culture that was imposed on the region. Indus Valley civilisation that dates back to 5,000 BC from the valley of Sindh had the footprints of different cultures and civilizations be it Hindu, Greek, Muslims or English, all had imposed deep marks of their art and culture on the region. “Islam was not spread on this region by sword rather it was spread by the love of great contribution of Sufis and saints of this region. It was this love and spiritualism that I have showed in my film which is also named as art=(love)2,” he said.


Hussain said: “I can foresee a great revolution in Pakistan’s film industry as new people have a spark and a drive to do something in this powerful medium. A lot of research, art and technology is being poured into the medium. I also plan to make few films with Pakistani artists in the near future.”


“I am fortunate to have introduced the term Pakistani art in west that showcases our art and culture all over the world. It is my goal to introduce this form of art to various universities so that they study and acknowledge our art. I give art talk in New York university and in many other universities and our work receives great response. I also teach and do mentoring of the final year students in video making through skype and video conferencing,” he said.


“Soul of Civilisation’ was well appreciated and was shown in various Universities and art galleries including Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadows Corona Park Queens, New York, Charles B. Wang Centre, Stony Brook University, New York, Aicon Gallery, 35 Great Jones Street, New York , Jorgensen Centre for Performing Arts, University of Connecticut Storrs, Connecticut, University of Wisconsin Madison Wisconsin.


The screening of his film in Islamabad will be held till 26th after which he will be going to Karachi on May 28th.