LAHORE, Sept 12: A high-profile exhibition featuring the works of 10 iconic figures from the Fine Arts will open at Ejaz Galleries on Thursday (today).

The artists whose work will be on display in the show include: Saeed Akhtar, Jamil Naqsh, Sadequain, Abdur Rehman Chughtai, Allah Baksh, Colin David, Askari Mian Irani, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Ahmed Khan and Ismail Guljee. Saeed Akhtar is one of Pakistan’s most distinguished portrait painters with magnificent portraits of tribesmen wrapped in their turbans, slim, graceful female figures dressed in flowing garments and series with horses; Pegasus, the flying horse, being the most famous amongst them.

Jamil Naqsh, Pakistan’s modern master, paints the people he loves, intimate thoughts and convictions. His subject matter incorporates levels of meaning, drawing symbolism from his personal history to illustrate the human experience. Calligraphy was metamorphosed in Naqsh’s ‘Modern Manuscripts’ series, in which he redefined mass as a complex linear labyrinth.

Sadequain is one of Pakistan’s best known and most prolific painters. He painted relentlessly, producing series after series. His paintings are mostly based on the literary works of the three most exalted poets -- Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. In his paintings, Sadequain shares his observations, beliefs and his relationship to the world around him. He painted relentlessly one series after another depicting man’s struggle against the forces of evil.

Abdur Rahman Chughtai has been referred to as the national artist of Pakistan as well as having a considerable following abroad.

His art was innovative, at the same time representative of his time period. He was a consummate draftsman with an innate sense of colour and design. Basically a figure painter, he evolved a personal style to portray famous personalities from Islamic history, gods and goddesses from Hindu mythology, Buddhist subjects and idealized figures such as Punjabi farmers, Kashmiri peasants, etc.

Allah Bukhsh painted landscapes and imaginative, panoramic fantasies. His paintings are realistic with a romantic edge, inspired by European tradition. He had numerous abstract brilliantly coloured landscapes which were unique for that period. He had an equally imaginative and colourful series of anthropomorphic landscapes. This treatment of landscape is consistent with Persian miniature painting in which human and animal forms appear in rock formation. Here he combined water colour and oil and painted on paper.

Colin David was one of the most accomplished artists of his generation. He was a member of the outstanding generation of artists from the Punjab University and the National College of Arts. He was a superb draughtsman and admired for his rare and complete mastery of the media.

Askari Mian Irani was one of the few dedicated contemporary painters who created an art form that was a conscious manifestation of religious ideals. Askari was foremost a designer and we find a mathematical precision and desire for order in his paintings. He evolved a unique concept which he termed “fine art tavis”.

Anwar Jalal Shemza was one of the first Pakistani artists to use calligraphy as pure form. It appears that he was introducing a trend already popular in Europe but originally inspired by the art of the Middle East and South Asia. Shemza was line-oriented using calligraphy to create abstract compositions with curves and dots and angles from Arabic script and Roman letters.

Ahmed Khan is thought of as Pakistan's greatest living calligraphic artist. His work comprises overlaid calligraphic designs based on silver foil pressed on canvas which with a sprinkle of chemicals turns them into vibrant colours. His calligraphic forms are meticulously applied on this base. Many of his themes deal with the Oneness of God and the desire for peace.

The eminent artist, Ismail Gulgee, received recognition very early in his career. For five decades he enjoyed celebrity and appreciation in Pakistan and around the world. He initially had trained to be an engineer but his passion for art led him down another path in life. His interest in the design elements of early Muslim architecture, palaces and mosques encouraged him to induct marble and then the beautiful blues of lapis lazuli in his mosaics and portraits.

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