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Wahab Jaffer


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Born in Poona in 1941, Wahab Jaffer had been interested in painting and drawing as a child but the educational curriculum mapped out for him did not include art as a subject. He qualified as an engineer in the U. K, but his innate interest in art led him to join the studio of Ali Imam in 1971 where Imam discovered the incipient artist in the man. Since then, Wahab Jaffer has been consistently enthralled by the process of painting and the complexities of manipulating media. He has the ability to impart a mood-evoking exuberance and an infectious love of life and art that is almost tangible. Jaffers world offers visual effects of melting colour against colour, layered in a way that creates patterns, textures and overall compositions of blues, greens, yellows and mauve. While creating a sequence of fantasy, his awareness of the contrast and power of space endows his work with a sense of energy and freedom. His is a world of sensuous of rhythm; mysterious androgynous faces and abstract images spiral across the canvas in brilliant outbursts of colour like exploding flowers . In a startling variation, Jaffer also paints images that eschew colour, and in the process creates new variations from the phenomenon of shadows. Souza, an admirer of Jaffers work, said in 92; ”Theres a very mysterious element in Wahabs colours; you must look for it under veil after veil of vivid hues, Carnival, Revelry, Merrymaking. Its Christmas in Wahabs art! Its joy! Its a feast of light and colour!\ In 1985, however, Jaffer experienced a transition in his work when he underwent heart surgery in Houston. The experience led to a ranching out in his work, in the form of a series of pen-and-ink drawings he called Life-Lines. \During those months in hospital, although everything around me was white – my world appeared totally black. In a sketchpad I started drawing. Slowly, painfully like a blind person trying to learn Braille I scratched with my pen and gradually light, life itself began to peep through. Slowly, as I sketched, adding texture and line in place of colour, I discovered the light and colour in black and white. I drew the outlines of a womans face and birds began to fly in the cage of the tunnel. I could once again feel my heart beating . Once I had chosen to draw in the darkness, I discovered a new light.