Imagination Knows No Bounds

DATED: 23 OCT 2013

KARACHI, Oct 22: When quality artists paint art lovers marvel at their paintings but when Tassaduq Sohail paints quality artists marvel at his fecund imagination.

An exhibition of his latest body of work opened at the Chawkandi Art Gallery on Tuesday. There is likelihood that the oil-on-canvas artworks that adorn the walls of the gallery exude a déjà vu feel. It is because its the same artist whom art buffs and connoisseurs have been admiring for decades. However, much of the charm of Mr Sohails talent lies in the fact that there can never he one, solitary interpretation of his work. Just when the viewer thinks hes been able to get to the bottom of the subject matter, something else (a dense stroke, a subdued colour, a sprightly bird, etc) catches the viewers eye and he resumes his journey anew, happily at that.

Contrary to what many believe, to this writers mind, Mr Sohail is not a storyteller. He is a philosopher guide who likes to take the viewer on a guided tour of his imagination. The viewer can weave a story out of these creative trips, but essentially its potent symbolism that the artist wants him to run into. And what does that symbolism lead to? A world that he desires everyone to see with his eyes!

The first piece in the show has a spiritual touch to it. Its obvious. As the viewer moves ahead to witness other exhibits, the journey shifts from the spiritual to a physical domain, where nature appears to the fore with all its might and glory. The colour green and the munificence of nature go hand in hand. The noticeable thing here, however, is that green is not pronounced in any of the paintings.

The element of surprise never leaves the exhibition, For example, in one artwork the tiger has sad eyes despite the mermaids in the foreground. This is not a continuing theme though because in the next artwork the threatening look on some wild animals faces returns. So theres a whole gamut of feelings. And if someone is hard-pressed to find a story, three white-bearded men riding elephants will help the viewer connect to the time when wars were fought on elephants back. Mind you, these bearded men are not warriors, hence the return to the spiritual from the physical.

Then, of course, like all great artists, Mr Sohail has this uncanny ability to turn an inanimate object into an animate being effortlessly, as can be seen in one painting where the birds in a tree impart a human shape to it. Simply stupendous.

The show will run until Oct 29.