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Calligraphy exhibition opens

June 17, 2017
Two of the exhibits on display at the exhibition.—White Star
Two of the exhibits on display at the exhibition.—White Star

KARACHI: A two-day calligraphy exhibition in connection with the month of Ramazan opened at the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi’s Ahmed Pervez Art Gallery on Friday evening.

Close to 30 artists, seasoned and relatively new, are taking part in the show. It’s a big number of calligraphers whose works are on display, therefore the styles and media employed by them to express their selves is equally varied. Why express? Because: what’s common or constant among the artists is the spiritual link. In calligraphy, words are done in a decorative style, but in our part of the world, there is a strong spiritual association with the genre. This is the reason that even when the artists allow their imagination to go free, they keep the sanctity of the content in mind.

In that respect, Shehroz’s artwork is a fine starting point. The flurry of his strokes, the profusion of white and gray shades, and the energy that the exhibit exudes give the impression as if the letters and words are praying, and even then the almost mystical ecstasy that envelops them doesn’t subside.

Munawwar Husain, on the other hand, keeps things simple. He writes Arabic words loud and clear so that their message is conveyed in unambiguous terms. His colours are bold and lines clear.

Staying on the subject of messages, Fasih Qureshi’s nonfigurative piece uses the Urdu language in two scripts with a readily understandable and legible description. Looking at the artwork, the viewer will have a couple of immediate observations: (1) the background is all about a particular art form; (2) the foreground overshadows it with a noble message of wisdom. This means art assumes a secondary position in the larger scheme of things.

Hina Rasheed brings in a touch of modernity to the exhibition. She puts quite a few things together, creating a puzzle-like picture for the viewer to unravel. At the heart of it all, though, is acknowledgement of the exquisite art of calligraphy.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2017