Shahla Rafi’s landscapes stand out with their fine and painstaking work on the intricacies of the flora and the irregular landscape of the Potohar, her realism imbued with just a hint of impressionism. The blooming mauve jacarandas or the rusty hues of foliage in autumn, seem to luxuriate in the richness of nature with a delicate sensitivity rather than a sensuality.
Mugheez Riaz’s paintings that capture the haunting stillness of the central Punjab landscape with the ever-present crows and buffalos were on display, but there was another series too, about nude solitary men with clay pots as fig leaves. What the two series have in common, the landscapes that have no human form and the male nudes, is a haunting loneliness and a sense of desolation.
Hajra Mansoor’s paintings are romanticized paintings of women in the Chughtai genre, but without his fine lines. There were a number of Rind’s paintings, mostly figurative in bold colours, with wide brushwork of women wearing ethnic jewelry. The one visually expressing Faiz’s ghazal, “Mujh se pahli si mohabbat” was intriguing. Arjumand Faisal has contributed four interesting paintings in the Malka Aliya Laila series. The other artists also brought variety to the distinctive styles on display.
The turnout of visitors for the opening was limited, a consequence of not having a traditional ribbon cutting social event.
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