KARACHI: While teaching the importance of art in our lives, teachers, especially those who idolise John Keating from Dead Poets Society, often come up with no fewer than half-a-dozen reasons, two of which are: (1) art makes us less lonely and (2) we need beauty around us. While feeling less lonely can help us survive everyday hardships, having beauty around us makes life worthily liveable. Eminent artist Shakil Saigol also puts emphasis on beauty, as is evident from his latest exhibition titled Taana Baana Revisited, which is under way at the Canvas Art Gallery.
To expand on the idea, this is what the gallery has to say about the artist’s creative pursuit: “Shakil Saigol believes that painting visually beautiful images need no explanations; artworks can be acknowledged for the sake of beauty alone, yet his surrealistic pieces speak volumes where reality and fantasy unify, unleashing otherworldly visions. His paintings are an amalgamation of three subjects that he has been preoccupied with incessantly: sculptures of the Indian subcontinent, colonial furniture, and sarees, a recurrent leitmotif in his paintings. He is completely captivated by its different weaves, textures and colours. Interestingly, Saigol belongs to a family that made its fortune in the textile industry, a field he chose to forego to pursue his artistic inclinations.”
Absolutely right! Beauty needs no elucidation — physical, spiritual and or the one created with the warp and woof (taana baana) of existence. It pleases the senses like no other thing or feeling. And yet, at the heart of it all is Saigol’s incomparable craft. Viewing his large frames is like watching poetry personifying in heart-warming shapes and perfect meter. ‘Born Free’ (watercolour, gouache and gold leaf on arches handmade paper) is a powerful example. His artworks are suffused with aesthetic refinement. The artist achieves that with firm, elegant lines, delectable colours and a vivid imagination.
The exhibition concludes on Dec 9.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2021