I washed the dust of the eyes with blood
15 January – 26 January 2015
‘Miniature painting’ is a broad term, which for last one decade or so it’s debates the question of whether it’s a craft or high art? The discourse highlights the struggle of maintaining that it isa form of high art rather than a craft. Contemporary miniature painters took on a huge mandate to keep the tradition alive. Experimenting with the subject matter and as well as with strict technique of its construction, was part of their effort. Miniature Department at National College of Art has produced numerous miniature artists who proved themselves as torch bearers in the realm of contemporary practice.
As an artist, the practice of mark making on a wasli is like a meditation. Whereas I am in a constant search of ‘eternity’ and it’s meaning in today’s chaotic condition. The ritual of layering the wasli’s surface with gouache is almost like adding different layers of my experiences in search of truth and mysticism, which cannot be altered by any social, political or cultural conditions.
The present series of works currently on display at the Koelgallery, began around 2010-11, while working for another exhibition titled ‘Contemporary Shahnama’ in London. That was the time of turbulence and unrest which narrated similar stories of war and confrontation as done in Shahnama. This becomes relevant to us in today’s world. The conflict in the name of religion has really traumatized the lives of inhabitants of this city my city, Lahore. All my life as a Muslim I have believed that Islam is a religion of peace, truth, love and hope. A religion that gives freedom of speech. A religion that supported the poor and encouraged them to stand against injustice. Now I see Muslims killing each other, blowing themselves up while trying to impose their ideology on others (a small group of people who are using religion for their own benefits) and when they fail to do so, they can go to any limits committing most heinous of crimes that history has witnessed ever.
I am a follower of the Sufi path, passionate to understand the idea of Eternity. Sufi literature, stories, myths, music and imagery stimulated me to walk towards the treasures of sublime transcendence. I think I am not the only one who is intrigued by Eternity, everyone in one way or the other has this urge to know about the unknown, the Infinite. Everyone is trying to do something significant, something meaningful, through which they can be remembered, and rewarded. I feel perhaps, everyone has this desire to be eternal, to somehow last forever!
Mullahs are also selling their version of Eternity, wrapped in the golden cover, a way to destiny to paradise. They have introduced a false version of JIHAAD as the only way to achieve Eternity, the only true path. This painful falsification has become a rigid practice and it is deeply damaging the core ideology of humanity.
My work revolves around the Sufi chants of love and devotion and on other hand it talks about inhumanness and false interpretation of religion.