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May 26, 2019

Jamil Naqsh remembered


May 26, 2019

Islamabad : Pakistan National Council of Arts arranged a reference on Tuesday to pay homage to renowned painter Jamil Naqsh who passed away in London recently.

Jamal Shah, Director General, PNCA was the first speaker to welcome the distinguished gathering with the First Lady Begum Samina Arif as guest of honour, with several renowned painters and guests in attendance.

Jamal Shah defined art as a necessity for lifetime-a necessity without which you can’t live, let alone prosper, flourish and bloom. DG PNCA said that Jamil Naqsh knew the meaning of life. He was hardworking who was at NCA for a year then dropped out without a degree and received guidance elsewhere during 1953 and from there, to other fields of painting. He found his own expression and achieved it. He studied the beauty of life spontaneously through his skill. His every stroke was a work of polished work seen through his paintings-unmatched. He must have enjoyed creating that!

Jamal Shah recalled that he had earlier invited Jamil Naqsh from London to Islamabad. Jamil Naqsh was courteous to thank him for the invite. Jamal Shah referred to free and independent style of Jamil Naqsh which became offensive to selected (and restricted) circles. Jamil Naqsh, as a result, turned to calligraphy. Art brought clarity in him and made him daring as well. He was no longer distracted by others. He was focused and his work became a source of light for us, filled with sincerity.

Sajjad, a poet teaching at NCA and running an art gallery, recited poetry as homage to Naqsh saying Naqsh worked with dedication all his life.

Artist Nusrat Gee said that Naqsh needed no introduction. Travelling through East Bengal and Sri Lanka, he was able to enrich himself through that experience and this was visible in his work. Visiting those exotic places meant more than academics. With expertise now in figure painting, he was showing farmers in Punjab, peasants in Kashmir, women, children and above all pigeons in bold strokes. Nusrat recalled her visit to Jamil Naqsh at Karachi where she met pigeons everywhere in the courtyard and rooftop garden. Every corner of the place there had a pleasant story behind it. “Naqsh” said Nusrat “did not care much for the colours what we saw in his the work was mostly love and desires in grey and white. Naqsh left an illustrious work behind him.

Artist Dr. Arjumand Faisal recalled inviting Jamil Naqsh as a jurist for an art exhibition which the later refused saying he did not find himself capable for judging art work of others. Arjumand Faisal also remembered Naqsh telling him that artist Shakir Ali had once rejected admission of Jamail Naqsh at NCA. (Years later, Shakir Ali on his return from Karachi, and watching paintings of Naqsh, broke his art brush).

Arjumand Faisal enlightened the audience with the fact that Naqsh was so much in demand in Karachi that he used to receive advance for the work he was yet to start. The name of the person and advance received was personally note in a diary kept by Naqsh (on completion and delivery, the name was crossed out from the diary).Naqsh used to fondly recall his mother feeding the pigeons. That itself became subjects with a reason and a motive for painting pigeons and women. Arjumand Faisal concluded his homage with couplet ‘Fun-e-musawari ka tara sitara ban gaya’.

Painter Mobina Zuberi met Naqsh for the first time in Karachi in 1974-75 when she wanted to buy his paintings for herself and her friend. The price then for these two paintings was Rs4500 per painting. Zubairi did not have much cash in those days but the paintings were purchased.

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