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JAMIL NAQSH

MEMORIES OF DOVES & PIGEONS LONDON


JAMIL NAQSH

MEMORIES OF DOVES & PIGEONS LONDON


JAMIL NAQSH – GIRLS & PIGEONS By Edward Lucie-Smith

In Pakistan, Jamil Naqsh is probably best known for his paintings featuring pigeons, or pigeons with beautiful women. These refer to a very particular aspect of his own past, as well as to specific aspects of Pakistani culture. When Naqsh was forced to leave Kairana, in Uttar Pradesh, where he was born, amid the violent turmoil of Partition, he was in his teens. After the turmoil subsided, he returned, to find that a familiar domestic world, which had seemed completely stable, to all intents and purposes immutable, had vanished. During his childhood, the pigeons that flew in and out of the windows of the family house were personifications of domestic calm and ease. For Naqsh, the painted images are emotionally charged – they are symbols of a way of life that has been completely lost, and can never be recovered, except through the magic of art. When he combines them with images of beautiful young women, they are symbolic in another sense. Naqsh is widely read, both in English and in Urdu. In Urdu one of the writers who has meant most to him is the poet Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869), who is considered to be the last great poet of the Mughal era. Ghalib is particularly celebrated for his ghazals, short poems following a strict structure that are celebrations, usually, of unrequited, idealized love. To give some idea of what these poems are like, here is an example in English, written by myself: AN ENGLISH GHAZAL For Jamil Naqsh Tonight a pigeon enters her window, The night is hot, therefore an open window. What message arrived With those wings through the window? A flutter of snow In the darkness of the window. You cannot know who speaks So coolly through her window. An insolent rival Sends words through her window. Many of Jamil Naqsh’s paintings are best thought of as visual ghazals, expressions of a particular state of romantic feeling. Their general tone, like that of the paintings with pigeons only, is one of nostalgia and longing, but the longing is now also infused by eroticism. This year sees a major celebration of the English Pre-Raphaelite Movement, at Tate Britain. The Pre-Raphaelites were the parents of the European Symbolists who, in turn were the forefathers of many of the most important characteristic of Modernism. In fact, it is possible to trace a direct line of descent from Rossetti and Burne-Jones to the Picasso of the Blue Period. It is easy to see how some of Jamil Naqsh’s paintings of pigeons and girls are linked to this line of descent. It is equally easy to see how these works, more surprisingly perhaps, are linked to states of feeling that play an important part in the English poetic tradition. The British Raj lurks mysteriously in the background of some of these works. It is perhaps worth remembering that Rudyard Kipling, the laureate of the Raj, born in 1864, just before the death of Mirza Ghalib, was the nephew by marriage of none other than Edward Burne-Jones. Edward Lucie-Smith Art Historian, Author and Critic


1 Dreaming of Pigeons oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


2 Exhibition oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


3 Take Flight oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


4 Shaded Figure with Pigeon oil on canvas 102 x 76 cm (40 x 30 in)


5 Nude with Doves oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


6 Black and White oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


7 Dreaming of Pigeons I oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


8 A Place to Rest oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


9 Ladder oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


10 Pigeon Holed oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


11 Last to Arrive oil on canvas 91 x 183 cm (36 x 72 in)


12 Gathering oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


13 Black and White I oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


14 Entrapment oil on canvas 122 x 76 cm (48 x 30 in)


15 Formation oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


16 Portrait with Black Pigeons oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


17 Memories of Doves and Pigeons oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


18 Floral Pigeons oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


19 The Ledge oil on canvas 91 x 183 cm (36 x 72 in)


20 Pigeon Review oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


21 Pigeon Holed I oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


22 Nude with Doves I oil on canvas 122 x 76 cm (48 x 30 in)


23 A Slice of Light oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


24 Duo and Pigeon oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


25 Engagement oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


26 Peace oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


27 Figure with Pigeon oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


28 Pigeon Holed II oil on canvas 91 x 183 cm (36 x 72 in)


29 Pigeon Holed III oil on canvas 91 x 183 cm (36 x 72 in)


30 Duo and Pigeon I oil on canvas 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 in)


31 Figure with Pigeons oil on canvas 122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)


Jamil Naqsh & Edward Lucie-Smith 1939 1953

25 December, Born in Kairana Uttar Paradesh, India Studied Indian miniature painting with the late Ustad Mohammad Sharif, National Collage of Arts, Lahore

Honours and Awards 2009 2003 1989 1982 1980 1968 1962 1961

Awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz - Pakistan Jamil Naqsh; A Retrospective, An extensive retrospective exhibition at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (to date the only artist to have been thus honoured in his lifetime) Pride of Performance Award, Pakistan 1989 Pursuit of ‘Excellence Award, The Artist Association of Punjab, Pakistan Contribution of 20 years as 2 painter, Arts Council of Pakistan Shakir Ali Award, Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan First prize, national competition by Hamdard National Foundation for poster design to find a cure for cancer, for display and distribution by W.H.O Gold Medal, Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi First prize, Women’s International Club, Karachi

Solo Exhibitions 2011 2010 2009 2008 2005 2003 2001 1999 1998 1997 1996 1971 1967 1965 1963 1962

A Retrospective, Albemarle Gallery, London Pigeons and a slice of light, Momart art Gallery, Capital Club, Dubai Pigeons and a slice of light, Momart art Gallery and Jamil Naqsh Museum, Karachi Homage to Picasso, Momart art Gallery and Jamil Naqsh Museum, Karachi Homage to Picasso, Nitanjali Art Gallery, at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise de Delhi Studio Glass Art Gallery, London Jamil Naqsh: A Retrospective, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi Jamil Naqsh for Najmi Sura, private collection of Najmi Sura, Jamil Naqsh Museum and Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Magic of the Line, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Jamil Naqsh Museum, Karachi Jamil Naqsh Museum, formal inauguration, Karachi Homage to Marino Marini, Jamil Naqsh Museum and Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Mother and Child, dedicated to Dr. Faridon Setna, a private viewing hosted by Meher and Husain Sheriff, Trustees ofj Jamil Naqsh Foundation Private viewing hosted by Amina and Jehangir Tareen, Trustees of Jamil Naqsh Foundation, Lahore Modern Manuscripts, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Beyond Words, The Art Gallery, lslamabad Homage to Marino Marini, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Jamil Naqsh Foundation and Museum, established in Karachi Pakistan Arts Gallery, Karachi Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi The Pak-Brazil Friendship Association, Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi Pakistan Arts Council, Lahore


Edward Lucie-Smith addressing guests at the Jamil Naqsh reception. Albemarle Gallery 2011

Special Projects 1977 Mural executed in oil on canvas for the Shakir Ali Museum, Lahore 1974 Mural executed in oil on canvas for the Cancer Society of Pakistan, Karachi, for display and distribution by [he 1973 Calligraphy executed in oil on canvas for the Hamdard National Foundation 1960/8 Served as co-editor of Seep Urdu Literary Quarterly and Arts lnternational 1970-73 President, Pakistan Painters Guild

Group Exhibitions 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1995 1992 1972 1970 1964 1963 1953

Rhythms of Illumination, Nitanjali Art Gallery, Grand Hyatt, Dubai Resplendent Reveries, Nitanjali Art Gallery, Grand Hyatt, Dubai Uninterrupted Journeys, Nitanjali Art Gallery, ITC Grand Central, Mumbai Euphonic Palettes - Dubai, Nitanjali Art Gallery, Grand Hyatt, Dubai Euphonic Palettes, Nitanjali Art Gallery, Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise de Delhi, sponsored by Deutsche Bank Pakistani Master’s Show, Nitanjali Art Gallery at Park Hotel, New Delhi Ibteda - The Beginning, Gandhara - Art.com (Pakistan’s virtual exhibition) Paintings and Sculptures by 45 Artists, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi lndian Art Unbound II, Nitanjali Art Gallery at the Grand Hyatt, Dubai Miniature Show, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Recent paintings by 23 Painters, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Water Colour by 20 Painters, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Paintings by 15 Painters, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Recent Paintings by 20 Painters, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Drawings, Prints & Etchings, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Modern Calligraphic Paintings & Ceramics, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Water Colour Exhibition, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi Group Show, Momart An Gallery, Karachi India Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA, U.S.A Trivandrun and New Delhi Painters from Pakistan, Pakistan National Council of Arts in Paris, London, Munich, New York, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Italy, Libya, Morocco, Ghana and Sudan Gallerie Christoph Durr, Munich, West Germany Painters from Pakistan, Ceylon Painters from Pakistan, Nepal National Art Competition, Multan


Photography by Guy Lockwood and Changwoo Ryu © ALBEMARLE GALLERY MMXII


ALBEMARLE

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