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CAREER IN ART: Watercolours and indigenous dreams
By Fahad Rahman
What is it that confers true talent and creativity in a person? Is it nature or nurture? This question has been asked and pondered over from time immemorial and may never be answered, but that can’t and won’t stop us from wondering.
Is it some yearning that comes naturally to those who are endowed with the artistic gift? This certainly seems to be the case for the renowned and prolific watercolour artist, Moazzam Ali. Hamail Art Galleries organised a painting exhibition of the artist earlier this month where he displayed some of his work done in the last year.
At the same time his first biographical book, written by Dr. Musarrat Hasan, was also launched which covers the different phases of the artist’s life and compiles numerous pieces of his life’s work.
Ever since Ali was able to use his hands for the artistic cause he has been busy creating art. He may have used charcoal when he was a child to draw on walls, but the artistic talent was sparkling clearly even then. He endured a lot of hardships and hurdles to achieve renown. His family wasn’t against his art but they didn’t consider it a viable or suitable profession. Nevertheless Ali’s inherent desire for creating art was too strong for him to give up.
He strived to satisfy the demands of his family, while staying adamant about his need to unleash his creativity. The struggle paid off when he graduated first-class first position in fine arts! Recently Ali was selected for the prestigious award of review from the 2007 Chelsea International Fine Arts Competition, juried by Tina Kukielski, of the Whitney Museum, in New York City. It was then that the rigours of his youth finally come to fruition.
The watercolour paintings on exhibit at Hamail Galleries focus on the female figure and the women of Thar are the main protagonists in his artistic tale. As a youth he saw the world as a place of grief and his painting ‘Man and Ruins’ depicts this view with chilling gravity. As he grew and experienced the world further he began to change his perspective and realised the beauty, colour and life of the Indus Valley Civilisation. This is what motivated him to pursue capturing a glimpse of that beauty in his recent landscape watercolour paintings. This led him to the artistic obsession he has with the Thar culture and beauty.
The women of Thar still retain the culture, dress and lifestyle that existed thousands of years ago and this aspect of their culture grasped the artist’s imagination with a firm grip and so began the series of one-woman compositions. The remarkable characteristic of this series of paintings is Ali’s ability to display his flexibility and command over the medium of watercolour. The theme remains the same, but even then each of the painting is unique with different colour schemes, textures and emotional content.
The paintings speak volumes about the artist’s talent and eccentricity that seems part of the package that comes with creativity.
The paintings speak volumes about the artist’s talent and eccentricity that seems part of the package that comes with creativity. They demonstrate the need to create life on a blank piece of paper and the ability to become so focussed and fascinated by a certain facet of reality. The women from Thar may have never captured the attention of all the people who will view these paintings if it wasn’t for the unique artistic perspective that comes so naturally to Moazzam Ali, the ‘watercolour master’.
The watercolour paintings by Moazzam Ali focus on the female figure and the women of Thar are the main protagonists in his artistic tale