Paintings document life in Lahore’s walled city

Jinnay Lahore Nai Vekhya’, an exhibition of watercolour paintings, opened at gallery 6 on Wednesday.

The works were contributed by Sarfraz Musawir, a renowned watercolour painter. Although Musawir has been painting for over three decades, this is only the second time he has held a solo exhibition in the city.

After receiving an MSc from the University of Sindh in 1982, Musawir spent four years studying fine arts in Karachi. For many years, Karachi remained the main subject of his work. However, when he moved to Lahore, the city’s architecture became a source of inspiration for his paintings.

Speaking at the exhibition opening, Musawir said: “In Lahore, there are many landmarks of Mughal and British architecture, which have always fascinated me. The Walled City, with its captivating buildings, narrow streets, old bazaars, and residents who have lived there for generations, has attracted me the most. This part of the old city is now dilapidated. Beautiful buildings have been demolished, and others are under threat of being grounded.”

He said that he wished to play a role in the preservation of the area.

“Many artists have painted this, but the viewer should feel the difference in my work,” he said.

Musawir said that watercolour was a particularly challenging medium.

Some visitors said they felt how the artist was emotionally connected to the area.

Musawir’s work also featured other parts of Lahore. A semi-side view of the Lahore Museum, with vehicles moving and figures seemingly walking, was eye-catching.

The background is dull, making the museum the focal point of the painting. The painting reflects his ability to paint anywhere, with little regard to the surrounding. His detailing kept the focus on the museum.

Another intriguing painting was that of the Neela Gumbad area. The pond was the focus of the painting, and the reflections of sky and the buildings was well detailed.

Buildings, shops, transport and figures – all add to the hustle and bustle of the depicted areas.

Musawir’s work covered the various dimensions to the city scapes and painted them with accuracy.

“The artist has transformed these places into pieces of art,” a visitor said.

Dr Arjumand Faisal, the curator, said: “Although he has captured still scenes, he has added an element of movement in his work – one can feel the people walking, the vehicles moving and activity in the area.”

The exhibition will continue till September 16 2015.

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