Friday March 31, 2023

Distinctive art exhibition opens today

By Our Correspondent
February 07, 2023

Islamabad:A distinctive exhibition by Safwan Bashir opens today (Tuesday) at Gallery 6 Islamabad.

It has been jointly curated by Dr. Arjumand Faisel and Irfan Gul Dahri and very aptly titled ‘ABD - A Blessed Devotee’. It will be inaugurated by Atif Rais Khan, chairman LMK Group and a leading art lover and art supporter in Islamabad. Safwan and his twin brother Hassan graduated from National College of Arts, Rawalpindi Campus in 2017 with focus on miniature painting. They both got a lucrative offer from a Chinese company for illustration and animation for kindergarten children. This obstructed his will to paint regularly and also be part of exhibitions. But when he participated in Arjumand Painting Award 2021 his painting received much attention and appreciation. This encouraged him to give up animation and paint regularly, his first love.

Safwan is ‘Hafiz-e-Quran’, but was confused about the message of the Islam and his inquisitive mind was actively struggling to find the truth - The God. Discussing this, one of the Curators, Irfan Gul Dahri said “A curious mind is like a flexible container filled with questions and puzzles, always trying to connect the dots and figure out the possibilities that the universe has to offer. It holds enough courage to recognise the flaws and weaknesses within itself and the outer world. It is aware that for moving forward in search of truth, one needs to revisit the long dark nights of the past and identify the fake idols and demons it has been constructing. It understands the nature of void within and develops a vision to see beyond the mirage and analyse the true nature of its opponent. Gradually it begins to understand that what is being portrayed and perceived may not be true but it may carry some essence of the truth. So, it waits patiently to align itself with the universe, which then communicates through dreams, revelations, riddles and cues. These inspirations fill its heart with contentment and belief. The reward it has been waiting for, miraculously awakens its soul and this is where the journey of an ‘Abd’ begins - as it happened with Safwan”. The artist, Safwan Bashir, discussing this experience stated “In my active search, I came across verses from the Quran that gave me answers to the key questions and allayed my misunderstandings and anxieties. For me, this was like understanding the divine light - The God”.

Dr. Arjumand Faisel, whose sharp eyes identified Safwan’s brilliance and decided to introduce his outstanding work to the art world in a befitting way, discussing the show said, “It is a two years long project of Safwan Bashir - a blessed devotee, culminating into this solo exhibition. You will find a young lean artist, trying to connect the dots and working patiently with the divine inspiration. A ‘Hafiz-e-Quran’ with knowledge of interpreting these verses and specialisation in miniature painting, has reflected on the themes of belief, misconceptions, humanity, environment, suffering, rewards and the Divine. He observes and analysis the ways how everything contributes to form the shape and nature of others. His highly symbolic and iconic miniatures take their inspiration from the sacred book ‘Quran’, its interpretations, social constructs and human behaviours.”

As examples, he pointed out towards the paintings titled Ajr based on ‘jis ne bhi zarray ke barabar neiki ki wo dekh le ga’; Muntazir based on ‘Allah ki rehmat se mayous na ho,’ connection based on ‘Beshak raat o din ki gardish mein sochnay waloun ke liay bahut si nishanian hain,’ and he went on and on. These descriptions were mesmerising and highlighted the understanding of Safwan about the verses of the Quran and the manner in which he has presented them.

Safwan added, “For me the divine circle is now everything, without which I cannot imagine life. He firmly believes that it is this light that brings control and discipline in the universe and keeps humans away from immorality and inhuman and ugly activities. If this light - the light of GOD, does not touch any human then s/he gets trapped in cubes of darkness. Their souls become imprisoned to dark desires and wishes and the darkness prevails”.

The exhibition shows the brilliance in which Safwan has painted the messages of Quranic verses in his peculiar and unique way, which is both highly symbolic and also iconic miniature work. The artworks are distinguished not only by their large sizes but also the powerful concepts that are presented with meaningful vocabulary that is well executed and presented in brilliant compositions with utmost details. With the quality of work we see in this exhibition, one can predict that Safwan has great potential to become one of the prominent artists of the country. The exhibition will remain open till 14 February.