Nahid Projects Womans Strength


KARACHI: Personal trauma, related heart aches, ungenerous environs and friends, professional and other jealousies, and above all, the backbreaking responsibilities of raising a family and running the household, have together helped painter Nahid Raza to mature both as a person and as an artist, to an extent that would take more than a lifetime anyone living in a normal, protective atmosphere to even dream of.

She is a very creative, sensitive and positive person and that must have been the main and basic attribute that put her where she stands today, beaming in her success, acclaim and recognition as a major painter of Pakistan, a position she has earned all by herself against all odds.

The exhibition of her latest work, which opens at Chawkandi Art in Clifton on Tuesday, bears testimony to her struggle and growth as an artist of substance with a style all her own. Those who have been following her growth as a painter since her first solo show at Goethe Institute in 1970 will at once recognise the long haul that has brought her to her present show. From the simple geometric forms which fascinated her then, and across her stint with landscapes and still life, Nahid made a definite turn in style and content when she spent months at a stretch trying to capture the extremely intriguing patterns of the Chawkandi Tombs in her search for the equally intriguing message these held for a discerning eye and a heart throbbing with almost child-like excitement. This was around 1982.

Then came the theme that really put her in her stride: Woman. Being a woman herself and equipped with a vast personal experience of what being a woman means in any given society and at any given time, she was able to project all the physical and emotional wear and tear both Nature and society have ordained a woman must go through, on her canvases in a way not many of her contemporaries have been able to. But in the process she also became acutely aware of the boundless strength a woman is capable of mustering in times of crises. And that is what Nahid Raza of today is all about.

In this show, her palette, too, seems to have undergone a radical change. She believes that all the colours in the universe emanate from woman and, therefore, she is no longer shy of going for the brighter shades from her usual sombre blacks and greys and deep browns.

Nahid has practised nearly all mediums — oil on canvas, watercolour on paper, acrylic on canvas as well as paper. For her present exhibition, she has used acrylic on panels and smaller rectangular pieces of board, some them mounted on contrasting backgrounds.