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November 6, 2016

A welcome escape from modern art

Karachi

November 6, 2016

Exhibition featuring 60 works by AQ Arif and MA Bhatti opens at Ocean Art Gallery

It was an absolute treat to watch the 60 works by AQ Arif and MA Bhatti adorning the walls of the Ocean Art Gallery, Clifton, on Saturday.

Both the artists specialise in realism and expressionism, leaving nothing to the imagination of the viewer and presenting a meticulously packaged image of a landscape, a portrait, or a cityscape.

Some of Arif’s works are really winsome water colours on paper. Through his realistic depiction of people and places, he takes us on a sojourn through Pakistan, the famous landmarks of the country, the lovely village belles in their typically rural attires, and others. He really gives the feel of the spirit of Pakistan.

Some of his works that really stand out as captivating are, for example, a mountainscape of Naran, Kaghan Valley. The way the colours of the vegetation on the mountain slopes blend with nature are a picturesque sight, indeed. The work is reminiscent of nostalgia. Same is the case with the landscape of Murree.

Besides, there are important landmarks that give the cities their identity. For instance, there is an impressionistic sketch of the Government College University, Lahore, complete with its arches and spires, typical of Gothic architecture.

Same is the case with his water colour of the tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam at Multan. Such works, apart from being a pleasure for the vision, are also a gift to posterity. Future generations, when they look at them, would be proudly acquainted with our natural and historical heritage.

However, landmarks and landscapes are not Arif’s only forte. He paints portraits, like his portrait of an old woman, wrinkled face, deep forlorn eyes, and exhibiting signs of wilting physically, a profound comment on the ravages of time.

Arif, who graduated from the Karachi School of Art, is presently teaching at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.

As for the other artist, MA Bhatti, who is resident in the US, he seems to specialise in portraits. He paints the faces of Pakistan, the real Pakistan which is basically a rural entity.

His portraits are those of old withered men and women from the countryside, young fresh village belles, also from the countryside in their typical rural attires. He really depicts the forlorn look on the faces of these superannuated folk and the youthful freshness of the young.

The exhibition, which is a must for lovers of art in the real sense, continues up until November 12.