Surely all of us have heard the expression, “getting the blues” often. Another expression that figures so often in songs is “in the blue”, and Dr Wasif Ali has done a commendable job in capturing the blues with his paint brush.
Broadly speaking, the term, is supposed to be connotative of depression, sadness, loneliness, and melancholy. Dr Wasif Ali, a medical doctor with specialisation in neuro-psychiatry, serving at the Ziauddin Hospital, has succeeded in capturing this emotion on canvas in a very profound manner.
All his paintings, in the semi-abstract style, and all in blue, are a profound portrayal of the human mood of melancholy, especially in the world of today, with all the pressures of modern living. His figures carry expressions suggestive of tragedy or sadness and really carry poignantly distraught faces.
Most impressive is his work titled ‘Despair’. An oil-on-canvas, it shows a somewhat distorted human face with despair writ large all over it. The technique needs appreciation in that the artist has really conveyed the sense of melancholy and despair, features which are all too common in our daily lives today given the problems faced by all in today’s capitalist world that simply devour our peace of mind.
The exhibition is based on 23 exhibits and all of them depict various forms of melancholy. Through his works, the artist seems to convey the ambiguity, uncertainty, helplessness, and sorrow which weigh really heavily on the human psyche today as never before.
Actually these should come naturally to Dr Wasif as, being a neuro-psychiatrist at a hospital, he deals with victims of psychological disorders and trauma.
Another work, “Lady in Blue-back to Thar”, shows a woman with a weird facial expression and, as the title suggests, it is indicative of the trials and privations the inhabitants of Thar are subjected to.
Thus, Wasif’s paintings also have a social angle to them. As he says, he inherits the pursuit of art as his grandfather and many other relatives have been part of it. However, he says he really got into the pursuit in 1984 on account of his acquaintance with the legendary artist, Sadequain. The exhibition, which is being held at the ArtCiti Gallery, Clfton, continues up until January 16.