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The sights and scenes of Karachi

September 05, 2012

Night view from Saddar (oil on canvas)

KARACHI: The kind of work that artist Hanif Shehzad does can only be attributed to inordinate affection for his subjects. In the present case, it is the city of Karachi, especially its older neighbourhoods. His skill as a painter obviously helps in highlighting his affection. His strokes brim with life and the colours that he uses have a language of their own.

An exhibition of Hanif Shehzad’s recent works opened at Chowkandi Art Gallery on Tuesday. All the 25 pieces (oil on canvas and oil on paper) are basically a depiction of how the artist sees Karachi.

One thing that comes out of his works quite clearly is the sweet nostalgia that one feels when one visits older precincts of the city.

This nostalgia has a certain progression to it, which means while he does like to think of the past, he would not remain there and would want to move ahead with time without compromising on the city’s yesteryear glory.

The first piece ‘Night View from Saddar’ speaks volumes for Hanif Shehzad’s ability to draw a picture and then add imaginative elements to it. The yellow street light at night-time gives the feeling as if the sun never sets on Karachi.

The posture of the man on the motorbike is so real that it almost looks like a frozen shot from a film.

In ‘Dusty Night 2’, he displays his talent with the brush and creates a fuzzy effect that is unlike Karachi’s climatic character yet very much like its psychological mood — the reference is to the murkiness of its socio-cultural milieu.

Mohatta Palace moonlight (oil on canvas)

Hanif Shehzad paints a distinctive picture of ‘Mohatta Palace Moonlight’ (one of the city’s known architectural wonders). The artwork imparts a dreamy feel to the building with thick foliage in the foreground and the domed structure in the background.

A market in PECHS (oil on canvas)

Not that the show is a trip down memory lane, the artist has also drawn some of the relatively newer areas or those localities that developed much later. ‘Jheel Park PECHS’ is one exhibit that provides the viewer with a contemporary feel and yet it does not lose out on the vintage vibe of Karachi.

The exhibition will remain open till Sept 11.