Poetry Meets Art
Sabah Husain’s paintings use poetry as a departure point. She explains that poetry is fluid, layered and full of nuances as is her artwork. Layering is used as a concept and as a device to create the beautifully balanced, textured pieces that incorporate many mediums like conte, charcoal, paint, photography and digital prints. The artist works on handmade paper which she has made herself – a technique learnt during her five years in Japan.
In this collection of works, the source of Sabah Husain’s inspiration is the poem ‘Hassan Koozagar’ by the renowned Urdu poet Noon Meem Rashid. A complex composition that can be read at multiple levels, this masterpiece is about Hassan the potter who is “like some downcast god, creating pots in a dreamworld of being and nothing.”
Sabah Husain’s solo exhibition at the Chawkandi art gallery ended on May 28, with a dialogue between the poet Zehra Nigah and the artist. Sabah Husain described her work while Zehra Nigah read out from the poem. Her voice did not give in to high and low crescendos and she spoke in even, clear, round tones. With subtle facial expressions and the controlled use of her hand, Zehra Nigah made the poetry come alive to the absolute joy of the audience. Her measured tone complemented the paintings that carefully combine vibrant colours with muted shades to create works that are neither garish nor sombre.
The evening was a small, intimate, but well-attended affair with senior artists like Mehr Afroz, Moeen Farooqui and Wahab Jaffer in the audience. The floor opened up to questions and a lively discussion followed, thanks to a barrage of questions from the front row.
This article was originally published in the June issue of Newsline.
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