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Arts

April 26, 2019

Capturing distorted realities

Arts

Fri, Apr 26, 2019

KARACHI: A recipient of President’s Award for Pride of Performance and Sitara-e-Imtiaz, acclaimed artist Mian Ijaz-ul-Hassan's recent solo exhibition titled 'New News Newest' at Canvas Gallery, Karachi covered current political and social issues of the country intertwined with each other where social media has seemingly become more influential.

The works portrayed different political personality’s distorted black and white and coloured images titled 'Truth in B&W', 'Wizkid', 'Ya Sab Kya Hay', 'Dark Thoughts', 'Fitna', 'Conspirators', 'Do-Raha', and a diptych titled 'Kidnapper' which showed images of people in black shadows pointing towards the fact that everyone follows the news without knowing about the source.

Paintings in oil on canvas titled 'Lamentation', 'Reaching Out', 'Massacre of Innocents', talked about the ills of our society that affect people in a broader spectrum.

Lamentation

Other paintings titled 'View through a Window', and 'Coconut Palm' presented a comparatively lighter nuance.

Coconut Palm b
View Through a Window 

The archival prints on flex titled 'The Moving Finger Writes', 'Taza Tareen', 'What You May', 'Not Know', 'Countdown', 'Battling', 'Headlines', 'Battle Lines', 'Lend Me Your Ear', 'Sicilians' and 'Phantom' were reflective of electronic media reports and programmes that spread news under the breaking news segment in a haste at times without authentication of the news source, ultimately creating chaos in the society.

Mian Ijaz-ul-Hassan is a graduate of the reputed Aitchison College which he joined in 1948. Since early days at school it was art and sports through which he was able to express himself and establish his identity. Discussing his art career, Ijaz said, “At Aitchison, I won the Ranbir Shamshir Jung art prize, probably thrice. Sardar Muhammad was our art teacher and quite a well-known painter. He was succeeded by Khalid Iqbal and Moyeen Najmi. For me both proved to be great mentors."

Reaching Out

He added, "Khalid and Moyeen are today both regarded as the pre-eminent painters of our country. At Aitichison I excelled in painting. To my surprise I obtained the highest marks, at Art at Punjab University B.A examinations. I was awarded a scholarship but I did my Masters in English. That was partly for my mother’s concern for my career. I did my M.A in English but then went back to art by joining an art school in London. I had a great father. Imagine a father letting his only child to go and join an art school back in the day."

While shedding light on his work he shared, “My work primarily focuses on pictorial reference to social and political issues of our time. I attempt to employ images that have an immediate presence, which enable me to have my intentions succinctly known to the viewer. Most images are picked off the streets walls, newspapers, magazines, public hoardings and the television screen. In order to vividly enhance the substance of images and forms, they are often simplified, the colours spread out and flattened.”

“I regard myself as an Avant-garde modern painter. I have always exerted to move on with the pace of the time and events. I would rather imitate others and imbibe something from them than ape myself. However, I shun the impersonal snooty aura of ‘modernism’. Instead I prefer to warmly embrace the viewer who is not the other but my other self. This impels me to proceed within our shared narrative and conventions focusing on the current, the immediate and that which I regard as the primary concerns of the time likely to advance and connect us to the future,” he added.