No Turning Back

DATED: 13 JAN 2007

Botanous creatures creep through an alien soil. Beluga whales dip in and out of a sapphire sea. Small smooth crevices ooze rivers of gold as a minute section of life moves into a slow being. Light filters through a calming haze as the many moons of this hidden planet creep up the deepening sky Amorphous shapes dip in and out of haze like sickle cells floating in a sea of blood.

Suddenly the light changes. The shapes take some more form but they dart out of your eye range so that you catch a glimpse of something you know or feel. And just as suddenly, your conviction dies; could it be, is it? This is what an alien landscape has to offer, a reality turned inside out so that what is familiar is seen in a new light and life as we know it is transformed into something unfamiliar. Neoteric and exciting.

Unver Shafi Khan in a painter who needs no introduction. Well known for his own unique perspective, his exhibitions are always welcome surprise for art lovers. His paintings are now showing at the Chawkhandi Gallery in Karachi.

One of Unvers delights is his indulgence in colour. His art hangs on the precipice of that sudden change in mood that divides his horizons into the hottest or coldest sections of life. Hence your eyes are faced with organic browns that speak of fertile soils or startling greens that sprout life. The ceiling of his planet is an organic blue that meets a horizon that can only brighten the future sunrise. Sometimes his color soothes the soul and sometimes it grinds your emotion to frenzy Unvers world of color is expansive and provocative.

But everything culminates with the drama of life. Every story starts with a birth, is spurred on by love and ends with death. The sensuality of being the totality of a moment of peace and the ardour of a minute of passion make up a good story and tied together with an earnestness of heart makes a bestseller which will be remembered in the hearts of many. Unvers work contains all the evidence of a drama unfolding. A fold of flesh trembles in the dying light as a shriveled, bulbous form sinks into a peaceful sea. ln the background, the sun sets on an Arizona desert as forms materialise and then dissipate into an even landscape.

Some of the artists work seems to be a little more convoluted. Unver suddenly seems to add the fourth dimension of the black out- line to some of his paintings. The lndia ink like outline also takes the artists work in another direction that explores a different aspect of the artists work.

Unver Shafi Khan is a different artist in Karachi. He is tackling an art form that is harder to define by many, hence he ventures with boldness and an honesty of heart into a new word, lt is hard to find the value in an art for many that are used to accepting more traditional forms of art. For an art that defies a direct translation the mind has to search within itself for an answer, an opinion and a concrete feeling. No one likes unfamiliar territory but once you learn to love something new there is no turning back. lf you deign to venture into the world of Unver Shafi Khan then there really is no turning back.