Issuu on Google+


February, 2013


Call him a probing drifter, a forlorn gypsy, a rambling traveler or just an obsessed vagabond who simply wants to soak every ounce of visual quintessence exuded by the ancient rustic life of far flung areas; but Ali Abbas is a painter with a cause. He has been wandering in and out of the harsh outback of Sindh to portray the intimate life of the natives, especially those dwelling in the Thar desert. The concept of the current body of works emerges from the radiating spiritualism that is experienced by Abbas when he joins the religious devotees who seek peace through mystic sĂŠance. Shrines and tombs of saints and reverent pieties serve as a point of convergence for those who yearn for peace within their souls and crave for strength to bear the trials and tribulations of life. The spiritually starved disciples come together in large numbers to these shrines, especially during annual festivals and occasions of Urs (celebration). The annual Urs of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalander at Sehwan is an event that brings interesting experiences every year. It is the mystic call of the Lal that beckons the needy souls to approach for redemption and serenity. Lal Shahbaz of the Suhrawardiyya order of Sufis was a Syed Sufi saint, philosopher, poet and Qalander (Islamic Sufi) who preached religious tolerance to people of different religions. His discourse and sermons based on mysticism attracted people from all religions. Owing to his unusual Lal (red) robe the Sufi is called Lal, while for the divine and noble spirit, he is addressed as Shahbaz. The Urs throngs with over half a million pilgrims, devotees, fakirs and disciples for three days from distant places having diverse cultures, who offer their respect in utter humility, commune with the saint, offer tributes and propose a wish. Abbas has expressed various arresting facets of the Urs such as dhamal, the devotional dance of ecstatic swirls on the rhythm of the dhol (drum). Horns, gongs, cymbals and bells are also seen in the paintings that trigger involuntary nostalgic sensation in the viewers. The swirling of the dervishes donned in robes, profusely beaded garlands, bracelets and multi-colored bandannas have been captured in an atmosphere of smog which the audience can experience vicariously because of its spontaneity. Abbas has always held fascination for the travelling nomads of the region who have evolved a culture of their own over many centuries. Through endless sketching and observation, he has recorded most aspects of their tradition, be it their attire, household paraphernalia or entertainment gear. The probabilities never seem to cease in the ways that he paints the existence and practice of the people of distant locations of the interior Sindh and the desert of Thar. As a consequence of many years of close research on the lives of these inbreds, their belief, folklore and conventions, Abbas has acquired a natural empathy that is profusely obvious in his expression. The evolution of a unique style is attributable to the persistent ambition of the artist to reveal the obscure and decipher the mysteries that had remained vague for centuries. In his recent ventures, Abbas has taken a subtle tangent

to his previous subjects, albeit drawn from the same environment, but inclined more towards their faith and the associated ritual practices. Abbas considers these periodic gatherings an opportunity to meet the large variety of behavior, mannerism and personal attire and embellishment; which usually appear to have some commonality. He is scrupulous in expressing the delicate differences between characters and personalities which give his paintings a distinguishable character. The ability to portray this characteristic in a painting can only be harnessed if there is adequate observation and sincere inference. Having dealt with paintings of tribes such as the Bagri, Togis, Koh and Maghwar, Abbas has an excellent command on differentiating the finer nuances of the diverse identities. Abbas takes exceptional pride in demonstrating the lives of pastoral natives of rural Sindh and their devotional idiosyncracies. Despite the harsh ambience, the unshakeable determination of these roving communities never stops to awe the artist. Abbas considers that women are the focal point in roaming tribes and has depicted this vital gender in his works more than often. The paintings represent various facets of enculturation, which is obvious from the typical clothes, jewelry, armlength bangles and traditional drums. Some of the paintings that are rendered in monochrome bear testament to the artist’s ability to portray the true behavioral disposition of the countrified subjects. When Abbas, in his aqueous gouache technique, resorts to a partial monochromatic treatment of subjects, he conveys the remarkable contrast that exists in the lives of those people. Conscious of the environment that is devoid of color, these nomads choose to wear gaudy clothes to accentuate the spirit of the observant family members, friends and visitors. The dreamy atmosphere that Abbas creates by fading some of the areas of the composition represents the limitless headroom that he provides the audience for improvising their own fantasies. He also ensures that his impeccable renderings give enhanced pleasure to the viewers every time they come back to the painting. The fluid handling of the medium brings out the lively movement in his subjects which give his works a characteristic personal identity. The generous use of space in his compositions not only enhances the subjects but also provides the audience with a visual relief. The artist executes bold circular strokes and spatters to emulate the atmosphere of dust and wind which draw the spectators into the vortices of sand, creating a pleasant empathy. To freeze those fleeting moments through his passionate eye and to grant tangibility, Abbas, has captured the mood and demeanor of the shrine culture of the Thar desert into an absolute pictorial archive, which otherwise, cannot be quantified in words. M Saeed Kureshi Dawn - Gallery


LAL KI SADA Sindh is the land of spirituality. The pursuit of mysticism has given immortality to many, like Shah Bhitai, Sufi Shah Inayat and Sachal Sarmast, etc – but perhaps the name of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar tops the list. His annual Urs is the cornucopia of colors and characters, each bringing with him a new anecdote to tell as to how Sain Qalandar made him a seeker. During my visit to the Urs, I bumped into a young malang and asked him what made him leave everything behind. He only said “lal ke sada” and moved off. I felt drawn to the mystery that surrounds the whole phenomenon, and decided to pursue the answers in my own work. I have made many paintings of sufi malangs, who seem to be controlled by a strange magic. Of course they are real, but somehow belong to a very unreal world. Ali Abbas


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 30x22 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 30x22 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 25x20 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 25x40 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 15x22 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 30x22 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 15x22 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 11x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 11x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 20x25 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 11x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 11x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 22x30 inches


Watercolour on Paper | 20x25 inches


Education 1993 M.A Fine Arts, University of Sindh Jamshoro 1990 BFA University of sindh 1988 A.T.C (Art Teachers Course,Govt,elementary College of education,Hyderabad 1981 Certificate of Intermediat Grade Drawing,Hyderabad Teaching Experience Currently working as assistant Professor/ Head Department of Fine Arts CEAD MUET, Jamshoro. 2006-7 Teaching at Department of visual studies, Karachi University 1990 Established & Teaching art, The Cultural Centre of Iran, Hyderabad 1995 Lecturer, Department of architecture, MUET Jamshoro. 1994-95 Lecturer, Central institute of arts & craft (CIAC), arts council, Karachi.

ALI ABBAS

Solo Exhibitions 2013 “Lal ki Sadaa” at artscene galleries Karachi, Pakistan. 2012 Bend in the SCAPES,at satrang art gallery,serenahotel,Islamabad 2012 Wandering colours,at Gallery-6,Islamabad 2012 participated and live performance,international watercolor festival 2012,Izmir,Turkey 2011 Unicorn Art Gallery, Karachi 2011 Clifton Art Gallery, Karachi 2010 Pakistan Embassy , Abu-Dehbi,UAE 2010 Ejaz Art Gallery, Lahore 2009 Chawkandi art gallery, Karachi 2008 Afrand art gallery, Tehran 2008 Ejaz art gallery, Lahore. 2007 Chawkandi art gallery, Karachi. 2005 Gardbaad (dusty wind), Chawkandi art gallery, Karachi. 2002 Sindh Gypsies alliance francies, Karachi. Group Exhibitions 2012 Group Show At Pakistan Parlimenthouse,islamabad 2011 Ejaz Art Gallery,Art Expo.Malaysia 2011 Ejaz Art Gallery,Omani fine arts society,UAE 2010 Ejaz Art Gallery,Omani fine arts society,UAE 2009 “Drawing Show”Vogue Art Gallery,Lahore 2009 Group Show at native art gallery Lahore. 2009 Ejaz art gallery, Lahore. 2008 Two man Group Show at Unicorn art Gallery Karachi 2008 Group Show at Sindh museum Hyderabad. 2006 “Mehran Colours” Mehran arts Council Hyderabad. 2005 Four water colorists show, Native Art Gallery Lahore. 2005 1st Rengoonwala Visual Arts award Exhibition, V.M. Art Gallery, Karachi. 2005 Hyderabad Colours, Mehran Arts Council, Hyderabad. 2004 Conservatory Juried Art Show, Conservatory Arts Council, Clifton, Texas, USA. 2003 Three Man Show, Hamail Art Gallery, Lahore. 2003 Summer Art Show, Nomad Art Gallery, Islamabad.



Lal Ki Sadaa