In the garden of earthly delights
ISLAMABAD, Feb 2: An exhibition of paintings titled “Encrypted Satires” by a distinguished painter Tassaduq Sohail, opened on Saturday, at gallery 6.
Mr Sohail’s work is laden with symbols, trees, caves, old castles, fish, mermaids, women in all shapes and contours, men, elephants with trunks raised, parrots, peacocks and other birds often appear in his paintings.
“It was like as if something was about to happen, as if a story was being unfolded with the vibrant colours,” said a visitor at the gallery.
The artist was born in Jullundar, in 1930, and later migrated to Lahore. In Karachi he found a rich Urdu literary circle and joined them, where he was termed as qissa-go (story teller) for his talent of narrating tales. Soon he became the Joint Secretary of Halqa Arbab-i-Zauq — a literary group.
Later Sohail moved to London, in 1961, where he started painting. But soon, paintings became his passion and he joined evening classes at the St. Martin School of Art and has not looked back ever since.
Sohail’s first exhibition was held in London, in 1978, and over the years there have been so many, that he has lost count of his paintings.
“They must be in thousands. Water colours, pastels, pen and ink, I have kept no record,” said the artist on the opening day.
Almost after three decades, his paintings arrived at Bonham’s – the international art auction house in 2007 that gave him the stature of an international artist.
After living in England for four decades, he returned to settle Karachi in 2001.
In his apartment in DHA, he has a studio, where he gets up each day at 3am to paint. He explains: “I paint in the witching hours,
which is the best time of the day for me.”
“The construction of his work remained constant with the rendered characters possessing depth. Women, garish, naïve, frontal, posterior, and in many forms appeared on his canvases,” observed a visitor at the gallery.
According to Shakira Masood, a gallery curator: “Sohail has travelled the distance, yet miraculously managed to keep his childhood innocence. His work belongs to the Native Art of Central Europe, but the imagery remains very much his own. His pallet has reflected phases of his life. He is back with his childlike fun loving work. Here is an artist who truly loves life.”
In brief, Sohail’s world seems freshly created with animals and trees “in the Garden of earthly delights” she said.
At the age of 83 and at the peak of his career, he recalled his days as a footpath artist in England with reverence. He continues to paint feverishly at his studio. The exhibition will continue daily till February 14.