AUTHOR: MARJORIE HUSAIN
In the last/of the golden dusk/just then/when the room lights up In that moment/night and day become one This day/and the next become one/ Our coming together/ in that moment Just for a moment
Coming together/for ever/ one moment No more/than a wisp of smoke/ in a moment
Our coming together.
(Faiz Ahmed Faiz: translated by Tehmina Ahmed)
The sensitive poignancy of the great poets words inspired the brush of the distinguished artist Anwar Saeed, who expressed in his recent work the transient emotions of human relationships. In this exhibition, couples, though linked, appear uneasy in each others company gazing in different directions. One is often portrayed possessively holding the others arm or shoulder while the unresponsive partner creates an ambience of alienation. The mood is melancholy, open to interpretation with subtle brushstrokes that underline a sense of haunting detachment.
Symbols of loneliness include masks, and mobiles often people appear to use the phone in desperation…. A gun pressed into a companions chest is an allegorical symbol of the pain one brings to another, while a third figure placed at a distance looks on unconcerned. According to the artist, the paintings represent the twilight theme of the poem, “It is neither dark nor light and that is exactly like our relationships. The figures are seen physically close but they are not emotionally present there so it is a temporary situation. I believe that every relationship has its own duration of time. We change with time and so relationships change.”
Saeed has included in the exhibition figures that appear to show their vulnerability by removing their clothes, a metaphorical impression of the way people generally hide their inner beings with a secure outer image. Musing on the words of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Saeed uses male figures to illustrate the theme, but the philosophy of the concept and the art is all embracing and universal.
Associate professor Saeed has been a faculty member of the National College of Arts (NCA) Lahore, since 1986. After his graduation from the NCA he completed postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Arts, London, where he studied the art of printmaking. On his return to Lahore in 1986, he joined Professor Naazish Ataullah in setting up a printmaking department at his alma mater. There he is currently heading the department.
Saeed is a widely travelled artist whose work has been shown extensively at home and abroad. Though well-known and widely appreciated in art circles, it is after a number of years that the artist`s work has been shown in exhibition in Karachi. In recent months, the artist has made up for his absence by holding two remarkable displays. One at Canvas Gallery, Karachi where he displayed his work in the media of digital prints and mixed media, while his current, eagerly awaited exhibition of paintings was mounted at the Chawkandi Art, Karachi.
ln both exhibitions the audience was delighted to discover the signature inclusion of the intense blue colour one finds only in Saeeds art. However, one may interpret the artists topic, and one may find diverse narrations according to ones own experience, the skill and unique handling of the media by the artist are truly superb.