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November 30, 2020

Transforming pain, suffering and emotional upheavals into pleasant paintings


November 30, 2020

“In the wake of my experiences of suffering and emotional upheavals, my poignant life taught me the unexplainable process of transforming pain into pleasant paintings in the form of women, birds and flowers,” a statement released by the ArtCiti Gallery quotes artist Iqbal Durrani as saying.

“I find myself fortunate to have developed the skill of handling the palette knife, which permits me to sculpt precise anatomical details of my subjects,” adds Durrani, whose exclusive exhibition of paintings titled ‘Fables of Beauty’ is running at the gallery until Monday (today).

“I believe that it is the incidence of light that gives the object its fascinating character and identity, which, in turn, is based primarily on the crucial addition of white pigment.

“Emanating from instinctive inspiration from the works of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, my fondness for pigeons grew into a passion and became a perpetual recipe for my paintings.

“I tamed my eye to watch the amazing geometrical patterns produced by these birds in slow motion to capture just the right composition. Layering strokes, thereafter, is a continuous process of development which can be both joyful and intimidating, but nevertheless, the pleasurable aspect always takes the lead.

“I interlace seductive relationships within my subjects, and thus, convey a strange temptation and lure. A gradual absorption of my painting engages the viewer’s intellect almost involuntarily and initiates an impetus that momentarily transports him to another time and dimension.

“It is a brief but reminiscent meeting of the viewer with my passionate characters, which may, on most occasions, relate to their own experiences of life — a sort of déjà vu!”

The statement also quotes art critic Saeed Kureshi, according to whom “an artist’s envisioned ecstasy can potentially inflict agony unless he works persistently with a sincere strategy”.

“With the thin line between pain and excitement, a focused painter knows how to strike a balance between these extremities — the only way is to persevere!

“Durrani is one such artist who, despite numerous physical and emotional distractions, never wavered and moved on determinedly. Working under strenuous conditions, an artist feels trapped in some kind of a twilight zone, which never seems to reveal light at the end of the tunnel.

“Durrani, nevertheless, is an artist who is hell-bent on plunging ahead without compunction or remorse! The bold compositions that Durrani continues to devise, regardless of their culminating outcome, speak about the artist’s propensity to walk into uncharted territory of expression.

“Not only do these peculiar arrangements of living elements exude cohesive beauty but also an ambiance of tranquillity and gorgeousness. Seasoned over more than three decades, what Durrani envisions is by no means a trivial perception, but a dream that emanates from the core of his profound insight.

“His spirit lurks in the enchanted land of fantasy to imbibe exotic forms and colours which eventually reappear on the canvas, depicting responsiveness and compassion. Imbued within the subjects, the subtle sentiments confer a graceful impact on the viewers who unexpectedly find themselves deeply engaged.

“Oozing with amorous emotions, the canvases lovingly grip the audience, momentarily sending them into an orbit of joyful reverie. An apt choice of medium and tools, Durrani bears an unusual fetish for exploring the rich diversity of pigment layering and rare textures.

“As the eye sweeps across the canvas, one can sense exciting hues and the undulating contours resulting from a pleasurable application. Minimalised compositions — for the manner in which they are painted — have a propensity to stir the viewer’s imagination to interpret the embedded parables with a variety of plots.

“Regardless of what the story concludes, the visual experience culminates into serene fulfilment — leaving a lingering desire deep within to reconnect. According to the artist, depiction of female faces and torso convey the modern woman’s boldness.

“Their distant gaze through sparkling eyes denotes their determination to survive amidst a milieu of gender discrimination and insecurity. The inclusion of birds and flowers in his compositions conveys the message of harmony with nature — a unison that prevails since the genesis of mankind.

“Amour and affection are the elements that emerge from these works when often viewed, creating an ambiance of fondness. Durrani’s interest in poetry and music has had a striking impact on imagery, which can be sensed in the rhythmic execution of the palette knife.

“Furthermore, the lilting movement of strokes, timed as if with the beat, produces an equally synchronised variation of tone and hue. The resultant visual allegories, though silent, reach out loudly to the audience, deeply dousing the soul with a subtle but serene gratification.

“Revealing his own spirit through tasteful vocabulary of forms and shapes, figures and birds, Durrani endeavours to communicate without barriers. He says, ‘Creativity on canvas is synonymous to a universal language that is understood worldwide, even on the remotest islands of the Pacific.’”