Shahid Rasam

Shahid Rassam
January 19, – January 30, 2016
Shahid Rassam who currently divides his time between Canada and Pakistan is a graduate of Karachi University. He studied art at the prestigious Central St. Martins College, London, under a British Council Scholarship.

His work has been widely shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions locally and internationally. In 2013, his painting was auctioned by Christie’s, in Dubai for the UN’s World Food Program.

Rassam has undertaken commissions for portraits of famous personalities, like Hillary Clinton, Pope Francis, the Mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion (the longest serving Mayor in the World) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Currently, Rassam is working with the prominent Indian poet Gulzar on Ghalib for an exhibition in February this year at the VMH Museum Kolkata, India. He will also, by invitation, lecture on Ghalib and his poetry with painting demonstrations at Shanti Niketan and the University of Kolkata.

The Exhibition ‘Hota hay shab-o-roz tamasha meray aagey’ at Koel Gallery is part of his ‘Ghalib & Gulzar’ series.

Renowned art critic, Dr. Akbar Naqvi has authored ‘Sense and Insanity’ on Rassam`s life and work with a preface by the luminary Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi.


That Ghalib was prescient and a sage for all ages goes without saying, what also goes without saying is that in the annals of art and craft, only he could get away with a claim as emphatic and all-encompassing as:

“Bazeecha-e-Atfaal Hey Dunya Meray Agey
Hota Hey Shab-o-Roz Tamasha Meray Agey.”

The “Tamasha” (spectacle) of repression and violence, is as old as the humankind, what is new is that most of humanity has become a “Tamashai”, an audience. Spectacles of untold miseries unfold behind every wall and in every street, but all the world cares about is Wall Street.

From Peshawar to Paris and from London to Ludhiana, the tyranny of the few bigots is lording it over the silent majority or should they be called Silent Spectators (Khamosh Tamashai) who seem to have gone numb in the face of terror. Terror perpetrated in the name of faith, sect, ideology, market, class, race, cast and creed has stunned the world. The Silent Spectators neither jeer nor boo.

Art, it is being suggested has become irrelevant. In their quest to appear “broadminded” people refuse to judge anything. They want to remain neutral. They want to straddle both sides of the debate till a clear winner emerges whose camp they can join. This so called broadmindedness is bordering on indifference. An artist must refuse to suffer in silence. She must speak up. Hailing from the land of Sachal Sarmast and Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai who identified themselves with the oppressed female gender and who frequently referred to themselves in the female gender, I too have chosen to identify and ally myself with the downtrodden through the female figure in my paintings.

I present to you this series entitled “Hota hay Shab o Roz Tamasha Meray Agey.” Whether you jeer or applaud is up to you, but I hope you do not remain indifferent as it makes irrelevant not just art but humanity itself