Sir Syed Memorial & National Museum.

 

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In 2008, I visited the  Museum of Flight near Seattle, in Everett, in USA, with my family. I was happy to see a woman who had come there alone on a wheelchair with a person to assist her. It was heartening to see this woman who must be in her eighties, visiting the museum. Like any Pakistani, I felt bad that one never sees such a sight in Pakistan. Though the elderly do come over with their families, but a person seldom comes on the wheelchair,  as  facilities are hard to find here. It would be the same in case of any handicapped or special person who has the time to visit such museums yet, has no facility of the kind. Anyhow, I’m just showing you this place, so when you come to Islamabad next, do go over to visit this memorial and museum.

28782907_1867972636569353_4196517434990435108_nYou will love it, as I did. It is not too large either and can be seen within an hour and a half if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, a couple of hours would be lovely too.

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However, I have a wheelchair for each of my parents, and decided to take them to see the Islamabad Museum on February 27th 2018. Since I had to take Dad’s helper along, so there wasn’t enough space for two wheelchairs. I thought, there would certainly be another one at the museum, so we went off.

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The Sir Syed Memorial is located on the service lane at right angle to the Serena Hotel in G 5 area. We reached well in time, however, we found that there wasn’t another wheelchair there. So, we decided to leave one parent outside in the car, to enjoy the lovely weather, while the other one saw the museum.  It was a challenge, but what else could we do? Being the sweet persons they are, they happily agreed.

Continue reading “Sir Syed Memorial & National Museum.”

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Reproduction or Fake Art?

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You cannot copy a Mona Lisa and sign it and say it is your painting. If you do, it is a fake, or a reproduction – depending on how you are going to use it.

As an artist you need to know what it is. You also have to give full credit to the original artist.

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Some works of art are beyond reproduction! Just look at the artworks in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.

Continue reading “Reproduction or Fake Art?”

Categories Art

9th National Paintings Exhibition, NAG.

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After thirteen years, the National Exhibition took place at National Art Gallery, at PNCA, Islamabad. It was an evening of the fulfillment of dreams of so many artists in Pakistan. Somehow, National Exhibition has its own aura. There was a time I remember, when one just took it for granted. Conceived in 1973 by the great poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the event was a regular one, if not an annual one. All the gurus of art in Pakistan participated in it from the seashores of the Arabian Sea to the foothills of the mighty Himalayas.

Continue reading “9th National Paintings Exhibition, NAG.”

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Verna – a suspense thriller by Shoaib Mansoor

It is a brilliant effort.

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Ever since I saw this movie, a few hours ago I’ve been struck by the sheer brilliance of it. Yes, I’m bowled over. Though, I shouldn’t be  surprised. It is a Shoaib Mansoor film after all. What else did I expect?

The kind of articles I had read about this movie, made me wonder that perhaps it was below his usual standards. But when I saw it, I knew he is not only his usual but even better.

Now, after seeing the film I’m wondering how one can criticize such a work of art. The cinematography, direction, acting, sets, locations, are really good. I just wish there was A. R. Rehman’s music to it. But I suppose we can’t have it all, can we? Without A. R. Rehman,  the music was as good as it could be. Haroon Shahid the guitar-playing hero with the singing, makes his debut with Mahira Khan. That too, in a Shoaib Mansoor film. (I mean how lucky can you get? ) Of course he has done full justice to his role too, – playing the weak husband to perfection. Making that believable too, considering how spineless many men in our society can be.

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There wasn’t a single moment when I felt it was a drag or in any way farfetched. I loved the movie. The protagonist Sara played by Mahira Khan exhibited a brilliant piece of acting throughout. Agreed, it is a rather difficult and different role for her, which would have stretched anyone’s acting skills to the limits. She did a great job of it. She even did justice to something that the script demanded which was unthinkable for any human being. But the failure of the ‘system’ made her go to these lengths. That is the point which is being missed by the critics.

Having been through several traumatic experiences, during last few years, I knew first hand how you can be completely devoid of fear because  the worst has already happened. You know, you are on your own. Now, its your call, or live by the stalemate all your life.

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What people found hard was her unflinching will to avenge herself, knowing no one else would. She knew no one would or could help her. Not this spineless husband of hers, nor the more useless government officials, police, or the judicial system. Thankfully, she managed to convince her husband and sister-in-law to help in the end. Her relentless spirit and how she would fight back even when she was so badly hit every time. I particularly liked the way the character of the husband was handled. How his love overcame  his handicaps. The role of the female lawyer was executed well. This certainly was fiction. Real lawyers are not like that at all. But the character was needed to explain the legal aspects of this ‘judicial system’.

The dirty tricks played by the corrupt governor, officials and their advisers were all too familiar for me. The manner in which people want you to ‘take’ injustice was also typical. Being spineless themselves, they want you to be the same too. Yes, ‘the deepest part of hell will be reserved for the people who in times of crisis maintain their neutrality.’ – A very favorite quote of my husbands’ was seen here too.

The judge played by Shahid Mir acted well. With a personal experience of judges and courts for over four and half years, I can tell you, I wish there were actually judges like him around, who did take at least some personal interest in a case. Believe me. Even that doesn’t happen. The ones who do, get killed, as was in the case I witnessed.

The acting was deep, sensitive and had the full depth of feelings shown.

The locations in and around Islamabad;  Bahria Town and DHA were shown with great skill beautifully revealing this areas’  true beauty. The team of Shahbaz Shigri – 1st assistant director, art director Faiza Shah and editor Zohaib Mansoor, made each scene a work of art using the colors and angles of the lense in interesting ways.  The quality of equipment used  revealing the technical skills of the cinematographer. The editing was good too.

The subtle and powerful dialogues used in sorting out the mulla mentality – which is typical – was well handled. The popular attitude of always blaming the women for the man’s evil act and making her pay for something they have done, was highlighted well.

It was extremely heartening to see a writer take pains to show the pains of a woman in a country like Pakistan.  Here, even women do not sympathize with a woman put in trouble by a man for his fault! On top of it, to try to victimize the woman for his own evil acts, trying to make out that what he did was her fault! The women’s response by saying things like ‘Allah pay chor do.’ (‘Leave it to God.’) Meaning:  ‘no one is going to do anything for you.’

Why don’t they say, ‘Allah pay bharosa karo. Tum such ki taraf ho aur mein bhi tumharay saath hoon.’ (Have faith in God, you are truthful, and I am with you too.) – This you will seldom hear from them!

The girl was brave and fearless, and I can see why such people are hard to swallow by many men and women in our society. It makes them feel uncomfortable. They are only used to the easily beatable, scared, crying and whimpering female. That’s how they like her. Then they can say, ‘dekha bechari, kin logon say panga liya tha! Yeh to hona tha!’ (See? Poor thing, this was bound to happen when she took on such people.) That’s how they want to see her.

Things will change, and are changing already. There is going to be a stronger world built by braver women of Pakistan now. Men like Shoaib Mansoor and many others like him are there in this world, to stand by brave girls who stand up against cruelty and insanity of others.

But first she has to stand up against the odds, only then can she change the odds.

The dialogues written by Shoaib are appropriate and powerful. In this film he has touched upon important subjects like rape, polio drops, mulla-ism, cultural backing of women-bashing, corrupt politicians and voting power. He has held his ground due to his integrity, skill and passion for excellence.

The movie is a hit, you can say what you like, the cinema house was jam-packed. Even my daughter and I reached half-an-hour earlier, and we weren’t the only ones! This being the first time, since we mostly end up arriving late for the movies. This was one movie – we didn’t want to miss out on the beginning.

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The subject was dealt without any abusive language – as is the norm in most English and Indian movies.  The grace with which such sensitive subjects were handled deserves all the praise.

Ladies and gentlemen – whether you all join me or not, I’m  congratulating Shoaib Mansoor for having made his hat trick!

Stay blessed my dear Reader. There is great hope for our country where such a movie can finally pass through the eyes of the Government censor board, and where the viewers can say what they like but are thronging to the cinemas to watch the movie. After all, it isn’t every day we get to see such a suspense thriller.

Note: All photographs and video taken from Google search images with thanks.

Book launch and Painting’s Exhibition.

My dream come true!

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So, finally when my book launch took place I realized it happened exactly the way I wanted it. A big ‘thank You’ to my Allah Mian  – who knew, and miraculously got it done.

I mean, to have a book launch is tough enough. Then a Solo Painting’s Exhibition is also difficult. Then to have both together is even tougher.  No wonder, every organization I asked, would just find reasons to push me out of their domain. (They did this by asking me for a huge amount.) So naturally, I was very upset.

It was a lunch meeting with my friend Aisha, at Juicy Gossip just over a week ago, when I realized nothing was working.  The phone rang: Aania asked me, ‘how are things going?’

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‘I’m done with all this.’ I told her feeling extremely upset and hurt. ‘ I’ll just have a virtual book launch.’ She is member of our Generation Rahi art group and is the one who arranges our annual group painting exhibitions, and other events. She is a good friend and a great artist too. Continue reading “Book launch and Painting’s Exhibition.”

Regional Exhibition at National Art Gallery, Islamabad.

“Takht Bhai to Potohar”

(Exhibition opened on 22nd August, it will continue till 10th of September 2017)

My association with the National Art Gallery is a long one – long before this building was constructed in 2007. Previously, it was located in houses in F-7. 1n 1981 when my first solo paintings exhibition was held in it, National Art Gallery was a rented building in F-7/2, then another one was located in F-7/1 in house of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. There were many memorable ‘Evening with Artist’ spent at the gallery. located in heart of the city, it was the hub of activity and interactive sessions with maestros like Ashfaque Ahmed, Raja Changez, Anwar Maqsood, Uzma Gillani just to name a very few. Finally when the beautiful imposing building is ready, there is ample space for art works to be displayed in this spacious building which has many floors accommodating all types of arts including music, paintings, dance and an imposing auditorium for indoor performances, as well as an outdoor theater for performances outside.

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Continue reading “Regional Exhibition at National Art Gallery, Islamabad.”

Categories Art

My visit to Tacoma Art Museum near Seattle, WA, USA.

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Checking out online before choosing which gallery to visit is a good way to know how to find what suits you. I watched the video of the Tacoma Art Museum and loved it. Tacoma is 45 miles from Seattle, the city is a harbor and very scenic. Most museums are located near each other, quite close to the entrance of the city. TAM suited my requirement to see paintings of Native Americans  as well as to see contemporary art of America. It also boasted having the famous Seattle glass pieces as well as some sculptures. The best part was that it had no nudes as we know them. Though I love European art, however the profusion of female nudes in it, is not something that I’d like to see. I believe it is not respectful to a woman or girl.  So, this museum was the best: its size was just right, so it wasn’t tiring at all.  The displays had a bit of everything. Most importantly, the staff was very helpful and welcoming.  It was decent in every way. In fact I loved my trip there. So, I’ll just leave you to pictures I took.

Continue reading “My visit to Tacoma Art Museum near Seattle, WA, USA.”

Categories Art

Jimmy Engineer – a dynamic artist and social worker.

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Last week Jimmy called me, “I’m here for a week, so I’d like to meet you and see what is going on in Islamabad.” It was great to hear his voice after 1982.  Last time we met in Lahore, when my exhibition of paintings was opening next day in Shakir Ali Museum. He wanted to come to see if the work was being displayed properly, and approved how Mr. Bhatti had set it up. He particularly liked a landscape which he asked me to keep and sell when I’m famous. – Naturally, that was the first painting to sell! – I didn’t want to bet on becoming a famous artist anyway.

Continue reading “Jimmy Engineer – a dynamic artist and social worker.”

Categories Art

Master Painter

Just read these verses by Rumi…. .

I think reading Rumi’s verses can actually make one a bit dizzy. They really tend to hit home. As life goes on, you realize that there are times where you just have to surrender and trust Him. Many times we do not understand what is happening to us. It only hits home much later.  Then, we get to understand what life at that time, was actually all about!

Funny! How brilliant we think we are, with all that education and all those degrees, and accomplishments. – All that is just a tiny dot in the larger canvas of life.

I’m very much into Time Management and Self-Management. Love to try out all that I study in the books that  I read. Then I sit and plan everything out. Suddenly there is a silent ‘bang’ and I find myself on another road, walking towards another destination. It means another ‘reality check’ with my new direction in life.

I wonder, what I’m doing here. Then I realize there must be a ‘Master Painter’ who is behind all this. Then I’m content. I know He knows best.

He has always known best.

Like the time I wanted to go to NCA .. National College of Arts, in Lahore, Pakistan. I wanted to become an artist and study art. But then my parents felt I was too young to handle the co-ed college with that bad reputation. They put me in College of Home Economics, Lahore, Pakistan, instead. They promised that after graduation (when I’m older and more mature, they’ll put me in NCA.) That never materialized. A  big scandal took place there, and that was the end of that. So I ended up doing MSc in Related Arts, from College of Home Economics instead.

As it turned out, I still became an artist. I also learnt how to manage my home and family in such a way that I could pursue my interests without letting my family get affected due to it.

It worked out fine.

Somewhere along the line, while exhibiting, and getting posted to different places, and having three lovely girls, I became a writer too.

So, what I’m trying to say is. One must try to do one’s best, in every situation. But after that – leave it all to the Master Painter. Let Him make the final moves. When He makes a move, just go along with it, knowing He really does know best.

Call it Karma, call it Destiny, call it Stars, call it an act of God, – whatever you like. But whatever happens, happens for a reason. Sometimes, you tend to feel your life has let you down. People have let you down, and what not.

Wait.  Breathe deeply.   Watch …..

Find the solace,  that has been planned all along. Find the peace within. Find that elation, which comes from surrender to the Master Painter. Get totally enveloped by it all…..

Stay Blessed, my dear reader. 🙂

Categories Art

Art classes by Hajra and Mansoor Rahi

 

 

 

 

These days, I’m making another one of my dreams come true. Attending art classes by the world famous artists of Pakistan: Mansoor Rahi and Hajra Mansoor. Their art classes are like getting a ‘two in one’ deal! The moment I enter the class I feel quite happy to have made the effort to get out of the  endless ‘business’ of today’s world. To enter this world of fun and development of one’s skills, its truly a great privilege.

Naturally, one ends up next to other class mates closer to one’s own age and skill groups. However, a quick walk around the room is a refreshing experience. Watching the work of young and upcoming artists feels great too. Some of them are awesome. – Students of all levels and ages are welcome here.

Mansoor Rahi, who recently celebrated his seventy eighth birthday, is a national icon in the field of art in Pakistan. His programs on painting on PTV morning shows in 1994 and beyond are still remembered by many. His speech which is a mixture of English and Urdu in his Bengali accent is charming. As one enters the class room, you see him fully engrossed in observing the work of some student. As you wish him,  he will give you a welcoming look, and a remark full of humor.

When I first went to him in 2004, he said “You can come any time you feel.” He knew I had already exhibited my work in many solo exhibitions and so on. However, I realized that without a commitment, you never get down to anything. So, I insisted that I’d like to be his and Hajra Mansoor’s student. Then circumstances took me away, till I returned to Islamabad again in 2011. Then, again I had to drop my classes.

So, being in the classes on and off, I’ve realized its best to remain ‘on’. There is a tempo and an environment of these classes which really invigorates me. As works build up exhibitions of student’s work are held in prominent art galleries of Islamabad.

Sitting there, surrounded with the serene and dreamy paintings of Hajra Mansoor, one goes on painting. Looking up at the paintings really inspires one.

What I like best about these two icons, is that they are so cool and pleasant. They do their teaching, and telling one the basics or whatever is needed. They do not get upset, when they see us doing exactly the opposite thing! Many of the students just go their own way. That too, is fine by the two experienced artists. They never try to impose their ideas on anyone. In fact, they help you get where you want to go. – Even if it is something totally different. Everyone is noticing the improvement in my work recently. I wonder why?

That is the beauty of art. It is free. It is multi-dimensional. You can literally go anywhere you want to go. Here in the classes you are blessed with the best guides to take you where you want to go!

 

Categories Art