• 12 Jan - 18 Jan, 2019
  • Eman Saleem
  • Art

Ask every artist and they will tell you the same thing. When they picked up the brush, they knew this is what they were cut out for. This is the truth of their lives. A flame of passion burns, in the course of societal criticism almost dies but lingers to fight the strength of the wind only to burn brighter. In a world where unemployed engineers are regarded with more respect than a ‘solo exhibition’ artist, it takes a lot more to prove yourself to come out victorious in terms of social acceptance.

I walked in at the Artciti Gallery to visit the three day solo exhibition featuring realism painter, S.M. Fawad and found to my surprise that 70 per cent of the paintings had sold out in half a day. Considering the range of 30k to 200k and around 20 pieces sold on launching date alone, the art community of the city is much larger than it gets credit for.

Talking to the co-owner of the gallery, Mr. Hamid Siddique who has been running the venture a little shy of five years, said the response on this exhibition was overwhelming. They feature more than a hundred artists and have a collection of more than 2000 paintings, which is evidence enough of a thriving art culture and said they have big hopes for the future.

Realism, also called naturalism, is a branch of arts that speaks for itself. It is an expression of art that captures things in their entirety, in their truth no matter how damaged or raw, without being tweaked in a stereotyped idea of perfection. Realism collection by Mr. S.M.Fawad was evocative, keeping alive the sense of untouched beauty. In brown frames inclining a little towards Victorian theme, oil paintings encapsulated the architectural heritage in the time of the British Raj. Window frames, doorways and more, etched in utmost detail and perfection; I asked Mr. Fawad why he chose this specific theme and his answer was worth an eyebrow raise and a thoughtful nod. On seeing the sad and deteriorating state of the much preserve-worthy and what qualifies as cultural edifices, the artist decided to paint this to keep them alive and to-be-marvelled at on a canvas.

Asking more on professional training and education, he told me he was always impressive with his artistic skills. Born in a house that shared a roof with an art studio, Fawad grew up with natural talent genetically handed to him but fanned this passion over the years to became a ‘sold-out’ artist. He studied at the Mashkoor School of Art and then later went on to train and idolise Farrukh Shahab, who is a teacher and a mentor, for more than 20 years and shares a studio to date.

On coming across a realism painting by his mentor, Fawad was hypnotised by the detail and intricacy of the subject and asked Shahab to teach him, upon which he was taken under his wing. The realism exhibition pieces went under Shahab’s brush for some beauty touches.

Fawad is a dedicated artist, focused only on creating art professionally with no other distraction. I asked about his experiences as an artist and he said he loves painting his city, Karachi. “I come across a sight that catches my eye and I instinctively know I have to paint this. I want to showcase my city on a canvas, show it to the world with pride”. He says he has plans to do more than Karachi but there’s too much work and potential to keep a painter grounded here. Having practiced and commercially sold only oil on canvas, I asked if he ever thought of trying other areas in arts. “I’ve tried everything, oil on paper etc but oil on canvas has my heart. There’s nothing else I want to do”. The five-time solo exhibition artist said he has sold every piece ever created and how it gives him so much confidence to continue on this path with enthusiasm.

There was a piece in the realism collection featuring a latch and a lock that catches your eye in all its simplicity. The detail making it look lifelike; the door is so minimal yet so defined, almost like it was unscathed.