People have been trying to define art for a long time but it can be said art is basically a way of expression. A poet expresses in form of verses, an artist expresses in form of painting and an engraver expresses by engraving stones. These are all the languages to convey the message. Art has a great scope and importance as do other things. In the year 2012 there came to the fore diverse collections of bold and vibrant geometric designs, abstract calligraphy, painting, photography, and oil on canvas, miniature and many more forms of art.
In the world of art, 2012 year began with the opening of a café named ‘Ze Grill: The Art café’. The artist community of Pakistan welcomed the opening of another café which offered a unique combination of culinary experience and art exhibition. This café displayed the work of 20 prominent artists of Pakistan.
Another exhibition of sculptures by Saroop Soofi who is a graduate student of National College of Arts displayed her work at the Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore. Her work featured a collection of stuffed animals and bird and her work was inspired from surroundings and personal experience.
In March, an exhibition ‘Charity with Colours’ was held at Alhmra Art Gallery. The exhibition was organized by Milestones Foundation; which displayed the painting of a large number of students of various educational institutions.
The two Karachi based artists AQ Arif and Farruk Shabab displayed their work at Ocean Art Galleries. The work of AQ Arif reflected the architectural beauty of the structures whereas Farruk Shahab’s work depicted abstract art showing depth, details and colours. A total of 42 painting were displayed providing a lot of variety as both the artists had different style of painting.
The interesting highlight of March 2012, Pakistani students also attempted a world record of painting largest Pakistan’s flag.
In April, Zulfiqar Ali Zulfi displayed his painting in an exhibition titled ‘Quiet Movements of Life’ at Ejaz Art Gallery. His work showcased the scenic beauty of Pakistan. The painting depicted artist’s journey to both rural and urban areas.
Professor Anila Zulfiqar exhibition titled ‘Raastay’ was held at Hamail Art Gallies. The exhibition showcased the architectural heritage of Lahore, the old and historical building of old Lahore depicted her colourful inspiration and love for the city.
At the end of April, three new talented artists Abdullah Qamer, Farruk Adnam and Saim Ghazi displayed their work at Nairung Art Gallery The exhibition titled‘Dot to Dot’ was inaugurated by David Chalmers Alesworth, Associated Professor of SVAD, Beacon House National University.
A group exhibition titled ‘Vision’ held at the Revivers Galleria in May. It was an exhibit of 50 paintings by 11 artists. The artists include AQ Arif, Salman Farooqi, Khalid Saeed Butt, Babar Azeemi, Abrar Ahmad, Moazzam Ali, Tanveer Farooqi, Muhammad Arshad, Wajid Yaqoot, Maqbool Ahmad and Maham Gull. Prices of the paintings ranged between Rs15, 000 and Rs185,000.
A calligraphic exhibition titled ‘Rang O Harf’ by Saima Ashfaq Abbasi was also held at Ejaz Gallery in the month of May. The artist has beautifully captured the Quranic impressions and the names of Allah.
In the mid of June, Punjab University College of Art and Design organized a seminar and exhibition of paintings to pay tribute to Zubeda Javed. The students, dignitaries, scholars, painters, art-critics and art historians attended the seminar and paid their respect to this wonderful painter who founded a modern and conceptual style in Landscape Painting in Pakistan
In the month of July, LCUW students displayed their thesis. A total of 16 graduating student displayed their work at Alhamra Art Gallery. The show tied together the personal and tactile imagery comprising miniatures and painters.
A photographic exhibition was also held in July titled ‘Forest of Life’ by Yasir Nisar. Yasir depicted the various forests of the country, including sub-alpine coniferous forests, dry temperate coniferous forests, moist temperate coniferous forests, sub-tropical pines, dry tropical broad leaved forests, dry tropical thorn forests, rive rain forests, mangroves, irrigated plantations and liner plantations. He has made an attempt to protect and save the jungles of the country through his photography and create awareness about the significance of the forest. His pictures also educate the viewers about the richness of our forests.
Another photographic exhibition was held by Razaq Vance titled ‘The Living Land’ at Alhamra Art Gallery in September. The photographs highlighted culture, people and landscape of Pakistan. There were 70 photographs exhibited, which reflected the beauty of the diverse culture of Pakistan and captured the feelings of people. Most of these photographs were digital and some black and white photographs were enlarged manually. The pictures which were showcased in the exhibition had been a part of National Geographic stock.
Karen Frank, a student of NCA, exhibited her works in the Drawing Room Art Gallery, Lahore. Her work was on large-scale plastic frames that offer strange insights that evoke all the madness and drama of the people of Pakistan. Her work depicted scenes from daily life that we tend to overlook. The weird beauty of suffocation is also shown.
One of the major events of the year was of Ejaz Art Gallery which was also in September. A group exhibition titled ‘Icons of Art from Pakistan’ showcased the works of coveted artists. The artists included Ismail Gulgee, Sadequain, Colin David, Jamil Naqsh, Saeed Akhtar, Ustad Allah Bux, Anwar Jalal Shemaz, Askari, Abdur Rahman Chughtai, Askari Mian Irani and Ahmed Khan.
In October, a group show of five artists titled ‘New Arrangements’ was held at Drawing Room Art Gallery. It showcased the works of different artists exploring strong colours and presenting different messages.
A painting exhibition by Asad Faruqi, entitled ‘Colours of Desert’ was also held at Ejaz Art Gallery. Almost 35 paintings were on display with beautiful colour strokes showing a profound impact of contemporary culture. Paintings of women along with some calligraphic letters made with vibrant colours were highly appreciated.
In November, a solo painting exhibition of well-known Karachi-based artist Salman Farooqi exhibited his work in Revivers Galleria. The exhibition was titled ‘Reflection’. The artist had used acrylics on the canvas medium to express his artistic approach and thinking in an absorbing manner.
A solo exhibition of Mohammad Ali Bhatti ‘Silent Symphonie’ was held at The Collectors Gallery. The paintings which were displayed were contemporary in form and content, intended to create a sort of musical compositions through colours and textures, layer after layer modulating with splashes of pure colours, glazing and burnishing of tones that helped to achieve the interplay of surface texture.
Another great event was the exhibition titled ‘Best of Royaat’, held at Royaat Gallery, Lahore. The exhibition presented a unique opportunity to see some rare treasures from Pakistani art masters. The show presented the visual breadth of Pakistan’s contemporary artists and includes several artistic traditions, such as calligraphy, landscapes, figurative works, sculpture, and others. The exhibition also displayed some of the finest pieces from Royaat’s permanent collection, including works of art by Ustad Allah Bux, Gulgee as well as Colin David.
In December, an artist named Heera Khan aimed to capture the delusional lifestyles far removed from reality. Her work was exhibited at Drawing Room Art Gallery with the title ‘Together Alone’. There were 21 pieces which depicted how women in urban high society in Pakistan have wrapped themselves in a cocoon from the ugly reality of the vast majority of Pakistanis.
In Karachi, an exciting and colourful art exhibition in connection with the International Women’s Day’ was organised at the Alliance Française under the auspices of New World Concepts and Grandeur Art Gallery. The innovative exhibition featured the artwork of 12 senior women artists that include Riffat Alvi, Nahid Raza, Mehar Afroze, Hajra Mansur, Zahra David, Tabinda Chinoy, Naiza Khan, Durriya Kazi, Shami Ahmed, Shakira Masood, Rabia Zuber, Mona Naqsh as well as six young female artists, including Shaiza Qaiser, Sammer Sultan, Reem Khurshid, Marium Aga, Laiba Baig and Cyra Ali.
In July an Islamic Art and Calligraphic Exhibition was held in Karachi. The exhibition showcased the masterpieces of talented artists Muhammad Shafique and Asif Ghazali. The Islamic art encompasses visual arts including oil paintings, calligraphy and ceramics, among others. It mainly focused on the depiction of patterns and Arabic calligraphy.
Another unique art exhibition that showcased the work of 50 artists from South Asia and Africa was held at the Amin Gulgee Gallery, Karachi. The creativity of the art work lied in the concept and thoughts behind its creation. However, the unique of every art piece varied from the county to country since the resident of each nation have a different story to tell.
In Islamabad, Aftab Ahmed Khan displayed his work of calligraphic which was the reflection of his experience and skill. In the month of November the city of Rawalpindi presented colourful paintings aimed at changing the views of city. The Street Art Competition season 4 organised by Message Welfare Trust did this competition in districts this year with the aim of decorating the walls of Rawalpindi and eradicating the eccentric and illegal practice of wall chalking.
A photographic exhibition titled ‘Brazil-Pakistan-The view of the other’ was also displayed at the Brazilian Embassy in Islamabad. Photographers Almir Reis from Brazil and Zulfiqar Ali from Pakistan travelled to the countries of each other’s origin to capture the respective cultures through the lens of their cameras. The result was both eye-catching and revealing.
Asif Wajahat an Islamabad-based artist showcased his love for his hometown as he painted landscapes in and around the capital with abandon. His work was displayed at Rawalpindi Arts Council.
In Peshawar, a young artist Mishal Ahemd highlighted different causes of suicide on the canvas.
It was the year in which the art flourished. We have highlighted the only the main exhibitions. Besides the above mentioned group exhibitions and solo shows many other exhibitions were held in galleries across the country. The number of galleries has grown, which shows the art is flourishing.