I am a great fan of Madam Noor Jahan and I still enjoy her songs daily since I started listening to them in my childhood and it is quite interesting that I have learned the Punjabi language by listening to her songs.
Noor Jehan was truly a symbol of female empowerment. She was the first liberal woman in our country. There is a lot one can say about Noor Jehan but her fans can see glimpses of her life through her youngest daughter’s memory, which she has shifted to her artworks for the Karachiites. Artist Nazia Ejaz in a solo show titled “Love Letters” at Canvas Gallery, Karachi tried to express some moments of her mother’s life some glimpses of her time with Noor Jahan.
“It is my love letter to a woman who has been the single most influential figure at every juncture of my life and work,” said Nazia Ejaz.
“When I was at University in London in the 90’s I would get a letter from my mother, Noor Jehan, every week or two, beautifully handwritten in Urdu. As I sat reading in the corridor outside the printmaking Department at the Slade School of Fine Art, my friends passing by would marvel at the beautiful script and ask for translations. They called them my love letters and they were full of emotions and prayers and longing.”
That’s why Nazia has given the exhibition title “Love Letters” because in a way her artworks are love letters to her mother. Just like her mother’s letters, these paintings are also full of emotions, love, prayer and longing, but this time these letters are from a daughter to a mother.
Madam Noor Jahan’s voice, acting words, songs and even photographs inspire her fans and loved ones. Therefore her letters to her beloved daughter were also full-on expressions, advice and love. And Nazia transformed all those personal emotions and personal moments between mother and daughter into her artworks to let see Madam Noor Jahan’s fans the soft and tender side of an empowered woman of her time. The world knows her as a woman with strong work ethics, a film star, a singer par excellence, a style icon, a patriot, - a symbol of female empowerment and Nazia Ejaz bring forth a single mother hidden inside that powerful woman.
“She worked in a male-dominated industry and earned the respect of her peers and the public at large. With every phase of her life, she seemed to reinvent herself.”
Worked in oil and gold leaf on canvas her works were mostly abstract. Many paintings are diptych and a few triptychs showing various pictures of Madam Noor Jahan from different eras of her life that reveals her journey through time from black and white pictures to colourful songs. The titles of artworks said a lot about the theme of the paintings such as “Scriptures of Love”, “Phool Say Jaisay Kabhi”, “Sajan Lagi Tori”, “Chan Mahiya”, “The Queen”, “Jis Nay Is Dil Ko”, “Things She Used to Say”, “Dil Dharakne Ka”, “Mein Tey Mera”, “Love Letters”, “Sonay Deya”, “Saathi Kahan”.