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The Man Who Wasn’t There


Satrang Gallery is an initiative of Serena Hotels Pakistan to encourage and promote talented artists in their pursuit of excellence


Ali Baba Sajid Khan Suleman Aqeel Khilji


The Man Who Wasn’t There Satrang Gallery is proud to present The Man Who Wasn’t There, a three person exhibition displaying work by Suleman Khilji, Ali Baba and Sajid Khan. This show is decidedly more dark and macabre than Satrang’s previous exhibitions, as the artists explore the murkier side of existence; the fleeting temporality of being. They are eager to capture and preserve the delicate footprint that man leaves upon the earth. Their work effectively highlights the depths of the emotions and phenomena that exist beneath the surface.

Zahra Khan Curator

By exploring these mysterious avenues these artists embrace the visible and invisible segments of life, nature and even culture. These three artists are aware that dreams and nightmares are intertwined and that space itself is divided into positive and negative. They draw the viewer into unusual worlds which are eerily different from what they are accustomed to observing. Suleman Aqeel Khilji’s representations mimic photographic negatives that are controlled by light and are populated by strange distorted figures. Khilji’s masterful paintings are full of hazy atmospheric smoke reflecting light creating a wonderland for the viewer’s inquisitive gaze. Sajid Ali’s depictions of the skies, full of stars and clouds, are built upon a much deeper absorption and transformation of childhood beliefs into a disillusioned adult reality. These beautiful pieces are heavily embedded in ominous realities that resulted in disappointment. Finally Ali Baba’s delicately moulded figural sculptures explore the human body itself and the imprint it leaves behind. Baba’s renderings delicately depict the tangible and translucent aspects of man. Interestingly, the artists are simply representing things that they see and know. These artists are masters at their crafts, their work is full of energy, movement and meaning, and yet is presented simply and subtly. They invert and transform their impressions of the world, whether they are based upon childhood memories in the case of Khilji, adult perceptions or an innate curiosity, into visual masterpieces that slip between reality and illusion. They invite the viewer to breathe in the art and grant them the freedom to explore the works and their deeper meaning for themselves.


Ali Baba My works have been revolving around human body and its existence. My intent is to explore the human form with regards to the negative and positive spaces formed through touch and within the human body. I try to engage the viewer on a very sensitive and emotional level through very silent, subtle and delicate imagery. The work somehow possesses pathos which may have come from my experience of the surrounding.

Human (Detail), 2012 Cement and Plaster Variable


Human, 2012 Cement and Plaster Variable


Rise (Details), 2012 Acyrlic Sheets and Fiberglass 24x24x96 inches


Rise, 2012 Acyrlic Sheets and Fiberglass 24x24x96 inches


Sajid Khan My work is based on my observation and experience of life in my village. In my village, I was not aware of materials like acrylic or oil paints. I only knew about pencils which seems a docile and a compliant medium. Even after I learned to use other media, working with the pencil came naturally to me. I find it a nostalgic experience working with a lead pencil. Like my materials my ideas originate from my early life in my village Palai near Swat. My siblings and I used to sleep in the courtyard of our house. The sky was clear from dust and at night it was filled with countless stars. We used to count them and looked for airplanes, as a game. Sometimes they hid themselves behind a mysterious curtain of fog and appeared again. This mysterious play of hide and seek always amazed me. I found the clouds fascinating. To me they are creatures like us but they are not constrained by material boundaries. They gave me this feeling of objects that are out of this world, which you cannot completely comprehend in terms of shape, volume, space and size. In terms of form, they reflect constant change that we humans are going through, every second. They are a reflection of our non-material existence. But when I grew up things begin to change around me. We were in a situation of war. It shook my life completely and changed my preconceived ideas about almost everything. I couldn’t tell when I lost my innocence. Clouds were not benign objects anymore, they were not symbols of peace and prosperity; they represented carnage. I saw clouds emerging from explosions, spreading debris of our human limbs and their belongings, annihilating hundreds of human beings, changing irrevocably from whatever they seemed to be in my past, in the blink of an eye. We are living in the after effects of this carnage and waste, similar to a nuclear explosion. This does not only affect people living at that particular time, but it has devastating effects on generations coming after them. But human beings still stand against adversities and struggle to live in this time of fear and despondency.


Others Land I, 2013 Graphite on Wasli 30x20 inches

Untitled II, 2013 Mixed Media & Photo Print on Wasli 12x08 inches


Others Land II, 2013 Graphite on Wasli 20x30 inches

Unfinished Graphite on Wasli 27x41 inches


Untitled II Opaque Watercolour & Photo Print on Wasli 08x12 inches


Suleman Aqeel Khilji White (light) means safety, purity, and cleanliness. As opposed to black or other deep colors, has a positive connotation. It’s not just a color it’s a sign of transition from an old world to a new world. Throughout history it has been used to Divide, Control, and Conquer. It also depicts faith and purity. In my paintings I have tried to investigate the Purity, in deferent lights scenario and times. My basic interest lies in the idea of changing time and a personal depiction of understanding the seen and the unseen. For me Reality is ever shifting and changing. Multiple layers of paint in my work become metaphors for multiple layers of reality – one overlapping the other like years overlap years, memories settles over memories and thoughts envelop thoughts. Most of my ideas are inspired in part by the tales I was told by my grandfather when I was a child. They contained simple lessons and, at the same time, deeper meanings and dimensions that could not all be fathomed at once. I don’t work in order to teach any particular lessons, nor merely as decoration, but to provide material for deep thought to myself, in spirit of reverence for myths and interrogation of the past and current social scenario.

Untitled(Diptych), 2013 Plaster, Acrylic and Oil on Canvas 24 X 48 inches each


Untitled(Diptych), 2013 Plaster, Acrylic and Oil on Canvas 24 X 48 inches each


Untitled (Triptych) Plaster, Acrylic and Oil on Canvas 36 X 48 inches each


Satrang Gallery Asma Rashid Khan - Director Zahra Khan - Curator Schezre Syed - Gallery Assistant Dhoufishan Raza - Gallery Assistant

satrang.ish@serena.com.pk |

facebook.com/SatrangGallery | UAN: 111-133-133 EXT: 5234

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Final broucher the man who wasn't there