Published Works


—Photos by Mian Khursheed

ISLAMABAD: The Jharoka Art Gallery in Islamabad held an exhibition of 20 paintings by first-time artist Major Adnan Shahzad.

The paintings were a mix of materials and styles with a lot of pieces portraying masks and nature.

The artist is an army man who spends a lot of time in the great outdoors and says that is where he finds his inspiration.

“When an artist spends as much time as I do outside, he is bound to be inspired by nature sooner or later,” Mr Shahzad said.

The other common theme among his work was masks. He said the masks represented everyday life and how people were not always what they appeared to be.

“I don’t mean this negatively. We cannot react to anything naturally, the way we want to. All our expressions have to be moulded around the tight conformities of societal approval.”

Major Shahzad said he had tried to showcase all the different sides of him in his first exhibition.

“All my colours are splashed out on these canvases. I felt like I needed to do this before I start to focus on one type of art. The next exhibition will be thematic,” he added.

When asked what gets him in the mood to paint, Mr Shahzad said all he had to do was close his eyes, sit in front of his easel and that was enough to inspire a new painting.

On comments about how he balances his army life with his artistic one, the major said he was like a coconut: a hard army man on the outside, a soft artist on the inside.

Photos by Mian Khursheed 


Naheed Raza, director and curator of the Jharoka Art Gallary, said Adnan Shahzad was one of the most promising new artists she had showcased in some time.

“He has painted so many moods here. He has dealt with so many topics. It is amazing. If he works like this, he will go very high up. He has to practice a lot of course and once he does, there is no stopping him.”

Artist Ahmad Habib said he admired how Mr Shahzad had worked so hard on his work, taking time out from his tough job as an army officer.

“In their first show, artists usually experiment to find themselves and this is very apparent here. There are light strokes somewhere, heavy bases at others. The process of self-exploration has clearly started for this young man and he will very soon know where he wants to go with his art.”

Calligraphist Arif Khan said he hoped this young artist will continue to work. “Discovering your self is an enduring process. The majority of new artists run away from their field. I hope Mr Shahzad stays. I see a lot of potential in his work,” Mr Khan added.

Published in Dawn, September 30th , 2015

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