Asolo exhibition and book launch by the distinguished artist, Mohammad Javed took place recently at Karachi’s newest art gallery, Studio Seven. The book – edited by Dr. Shaukat Mahmood – titled, A Man of The Arts: Muhammad Javed, contained images of the artist’s paintings in diverse styles, moods and media from his student days at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, to the present times.
Reminiscing about his early years as an art student, Muhammad Javed revered the memory of Professor Shakir Ali and the exciting early days of the National College of Art, restructured from the Mayo School of Arts and Crafts in 1958. Javed was among the first batch of students along with Bashir Mirza, Zahoor ul-Akhlaq, Akhtar Zuberi, Ahmed Khan, Nayar Ali Dada studying architecture and Salahuddin Mian studying ceramics.
All the students were deeply committed to their work, each one outstanding, and with the mentorship of Shakir Ali began a new era of art in Pakistan.
After graduating from NCA, Javed went on to join MIT-USA and studied Urban and Regional Planning. In his free time, he painted and showed his work in exhibitions to appreciation. In 1989, MIT awarded him the first ‘Annual Distinguished Artist’ award. Keen to see the world, Javed went on to travel and visit galleries and museums in the USA, UK, Canada, Sri Lanka, Germany, Indonesia and Thailand.
Visiting Lahore, it is always a pleasure to drop in at the Coopera Art Gallery, there the
Director/Curator of the gallery, Mohammad Javed, will undoubtedly have a young artist’s work on show, following in the footsteps of Shakir Ali in promoting and encouraging youthful talent; and as the Secretary General of the Pakistan Writers Cooperative Society, Javed promotes the appreciation of art and literature and writes regularly for magazines and the media.
He has through the years, played an important role in introducing talented newcomers to the scene. The artist’s life and work is featured in a book titled, A Man of The Arts: Muhammad Javed, edited by Dr. Shaukat Mahmood. Viewing the book launched in Karachi recently, one could trace the early, exciting days of the National College of Arts, Lahore, with the presence of Shakir Ali inspiring the young, talented students.
Shakir Ali would have been proud to know that in 2016, a book was published in Austria by a German writer K. Heinz Playner, titled Relevance in the Art: Fine Art Masters of 21st century. The book included Muhammad Javed representing Pakistan.
The exhibition of oil-on-canvas paintings shown in Karachi was previously exhibited at NCA’s gallery in October 2016, where the curator Quddus Mirza observed: “Muhammad Javed’s canvases reflect his love for his city, surroundings, people and places, as he transforms them into visions that present pleasure, poise and preciousness for life. About activities which take place around us, but we are not aware of them. It is the task of a sensitive painter, like him, to make us see what we look at every day without noticing, observing and enjoying it.”
Previously, Muhammad Javed has spent some time in Karachi where he was extremely active and a popular member in local art circles. Always appreciative of various movements in art, Javed in his exhibition includes Abstraction, a contemporary vision of a colourful pavement bookshop, and the artist’s work is expressed in calligraphy.
The current collection creates a fascinating history of Muhammad Javed’s achievements, starting with two beautiful artworks influenced by Shakir Ali. There we find the fan shaped trees and markets with shoppers divided by different coloured areas. Former NCA students, who studied with the artist, attended the show and nostalgically pointed out the touch of Shakir Ali’s vision.
About Javed’s work, Ijazul Hasan, the Chairperson of the Artist’s Association of the Punjab has noted, “The present exhibition has multiple moods and concerns. His cityscapes are well studied and built; crowded with mundane, everyday movement and multiple activities. There are a number of paintings where Javed shuns crisp definitions; objects are defused by brush strokes, seemingly as though scratched on the surface. In these work shapes, forms coalesce, creating different textural hues on surface plane.”
Paintings of Lahore show diverse moods, the bustling streets, overcast skies, and the dignity of a historic age of Mughal rulers; the artist shares the wistful thoughts of many of his peers, filling the skies with dancing kites of many colours. These are museum pieces for future generations to enjoy.