Saturday December 04, 2021

‘Words on walls are read more than those in books’

June 06, 2016

Street artist Abdullah Ahmed Khan aka Sanki King brings art from the streets
to the elites with his show, 'One should know him by now', at Sanat Gallery


Although graffiti artists are known for making art accessible to people by taking it out from four-walled galleries, artist Abdullah Ahmed Khan, popularly known as 'Sanki King', recently did otherwise as many people attended his first show ‘One should know him by now’ held at Sanat Gallery on Saturday evening.

An artist who has been doing graffiti since the last decade, Khan was drawn to this art form after a long journey of exploration. Having tried his hand in music by rapping and beat-boxing, he finally found his calling on walls as he decided to do magic except he would hold a spray can instead of a wand to throw colours on concrete. But like many other artists, Khan’s take was to add meaning to the writings on the wall; instead of messages by quacks along with blaring hate speech, it is always better to let art add some significance.

Although graffiti is considered illicit, the art is quite popular across the world but sadly Pakistan is yet to come on the global map for this particular art form: “My only wish is to make sure that Pakistan gains prominence in graffiti art,” said Khan.

Commenting on his work, curator Abid Merchant said that it was indeed remarkable that Khan had brought the art from walls to the canvas. Perhaps galleries acknowledging this art might lead to some kind of legitimisation which in turn would encourage more artists to own their work. 

Explaining about his technique Khan shared that ‘Wild Style’ was one of the popular patterns used by him because it granted him the freedom to make strokes and use colours as he wishes. Speaking about his inspiration he names acclaimed graffiti artists, Banksky, Blek Le Rat and Zephyr as individuals whose work left a mark on him.

Given that many graffiti artists tend to remain anonymous or go around with a pseudonym, one visitor Haris Rizvi lauded Khan for his decision: “There are various underground graffiti artist but he was brave enough to bring it within public view,” he said.

Noted photographer and calligrapher Jamal Ashiquain remarked that graffiti was an important form of art because of its wider reach to public: “Words written on walls are read by more people than the words written in books,” he opined.

One of the art pieces of Abdullah held a significant place for the reason of its unique colour selection and framing — a light yellow circle is drawn in the centre of red rectangle crowded by copious haphazard patterns. The edges of the frame are left with the droplets of paints which add gravity to the piece: "The pieces are self explanatory in their respective nature, Abdullah has made them interactive by phenomenal selection of colours," opined Syed Ahsan a visitor at the gallery.

Another piece at the gallery titled as ‘Gaze’ attracted most of the audience being reciprocal and provocative because of the design as the artist used different colours to draw human anatomy in accordance with the functions of various organs.  The show continues till June 18.