Nature’s moment

November 14, 2021

Sabiha Nasr-ud-Deen’s recent work, presented at The Pakistan Saga exhibition, reflects her artistic versatility

Nature’s moment

Diversity is the first idea that comes to one’s mind while viewing Sabiha Nasr-ud-Deen’s work. She is a veteran artist. As a student, she was the recipient of a gold medal from the Punjab University Fine Arts Department. While most artists these days restrict themselves to a particular medium Deen’s recent work, presented at The Pakistan Saga exhibition, reflects her artistic versatility.

“My work is a prayer of gratitude and hope. The Pakistan Saga is an attempt to bring to the viewer the fantasmagoria that is Pakistan - my country, my people - through my eyes,” she said.

In his preview for this paper, Dr Ajaz Anwar wrote, “Her colours are bright and clear, and include some daring reds and yellows. The subject matter is mostly woods, lined with trees that run along the zigzag pathways with the light showing through the leaves of the silhouettes. Most tree trunks are rather bluish, and bright light peeps out from the corners, like silver lining around clouds,” adding that “In some of the impressionistic tree-scapes, we find elements of wooden architecture peeping from behind, which are suggestive of the sprawling urbanisation. However, the large whites left out would not suggest the snowy landscape of the Northern Areas.”

Nature’s moment

“I am into nature. But I paint what I like. I focus on capturing its moods, its scenes and letting people feel the intensity of my work. Let everyone relate to it,” says Sabiha Nasr-ud-Deen

Trees in rural settings, water, flowers, lights and boats – the veteran artist looks at Pakistan though a lens that appears to favour nature. It takes the viewer on a journey through Pakistan that compliments serenity. It centralises originality rather than immodest, self-centred hyper-nationalist pompousness. Deen agrees that nature is close to her heart. However, she refuses to be boxed as a ‘nature artist’.

“I am into nature. But I paint what I like. I focus on capturing its moods, its different scenes and let people feel the intensity… let everyone relate to it,” says the artist. Connoisseurs mention her in the same breath with maestros like Jamil Naqsh, Bashir Mirza and Sadequain.

But does the exhibition have a message? Does her work carry meanings that can only be understood after deep reflection? She turns the question on its head: Does it really have to? For Deen, all art is abstract. “Shapes, lines and masses are put together to form an image intended to speak to the viewer.” For her, the reflection of artists’ style, insignia and identity is more important than the meaning in their work.

“An artist should have a signature style. It should be reflected in every genre they work with. The biggest challenge for an artist is to not lose themselves amidst racy trends. Ghalib has written on everything under the God’s blue sky. And yet his verses always amaze you for his originality. That is exactly the way an artist should be. Your essence and your identity should be reflected in all your work.”

The exhibition at Art Kaam Gallery will continue till November 26.

The writer is a reporter based in   Karachi

Nature’s moment