AUTHOR: MOHAMMAD JAMI
It is rare that such a diverse and immensely delightful art fare is made available in a space of one week in Karachi. Four exhibitions, three by senior artists and one by a beginner, opened at four different galleries, keeping the growing number of art lovers shuttling from place to the other.
On the same day, January 26, two shows opened; one at Goethe Institute by a junior artist, Zia Junejo and the other at Sheraton Art Gallery by Askari Mian Irani a Karachi artist, who now works in Lahore.
The other two shows by well-known artist Meher Afroz and Nasir Shamsie, who has been very infrequently appearing in some groups shows and now has decided to hold a major solo exhibition to display his essay on the aesthetics in acrylics.
Askari Mian Irani operates at many levels, intelligently designing his decorative com-positions in so many charming ways. You wonder at his ability to take simple Mughal and Islamic patterns and turn them into kaleidscopic array of images. Askari has a trained mind which can synthesize oriental motifs, patterns and calligraphy into compellingly meaningful compositions.
Sharply crafted and ingeniously, designed compositions lend an unusually beautiful aspect to his artistic expressions. Sheraton Gallery will have to reorganise its overhead lights to do justice to the works of subtle details and varying tonal values by Askari Mian Irani which have to be seen in sufficient light in order to be adequately appreciated.
Zia Junejo at the Goethe Institute has displayed only a few paintings, most of the them depict his ideas about women who are painted in yellows and blacks only.
For a beginner who has been exhibiting his works in group shows, Zia Junejos first solo show is interesting and shows that he has advanced his limited pallete to a level where he can do much better than what he has been doing so far. The nudes are too prosaic and simple and he places them in the same compositional values, time and again. Zia suffers from being too occupied with the same subject and doing it again in the same fashion. In short, he is afraid to work freely and boldly.
Some of the faces of young women are well-executed although they remain essentially simple and rudimentary. It is however clear that Zia Junejo has the talent to paint but requires constant practice to discipline that talent into sensible artistic expression.