Art and History

It is always refreshing to see an artist discussing history and art and giving preference to the latter by hardly overshadowing the former. It results in an enriched aesthetic interpretation of life. A.Q. Arif is an artist who is in love with architecture, but to him it is the part of life that sometimes, if not always, surpasses the sum total of history.

An exhibition of his mixed media-on-canvas and a couple of oil-on-board artworks under way at the Chawkandi Art Gallery is testimony to the observation.

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Mr Arif pays tribute to old architecture marked by domes, arches and wide corridors. It wouldn’t be wrong to assign a ‘time period’ to the exhibits but then it would be limiting the whole concept. Yes, there are figures that point to a certain Asian era, yes, there is text in the Persian language; still, what stands out is the timelessness of the scenes he paints.

In one artwork, the artist places the structure of an old building on the left side and cityscape on the right while using the colour blue instead of yellow and ochre. It is one mixed media-on-canvas painting representing two different worlds. Despite being in a single frame, these worlds stand apart, perhaps representing two different strata of society.

In another piece, again using the shades of blue, the artist shows a battle-like scene.

Surprisingly, in a pleasant manner, it’s the building in the background that eclipses the dust clouds and the figures that form the bulk of the painting in the lower half. And that is where art triumphs over history.

The show will continue till Jan 28.

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