“I am a happy person and I believe nature symbolizes hope and freedom. Whenever I paint, I feel free, peaceful, and happier. Painting is mediation for me, when I paint I follow my unconscious mind, I don’t prepare myself or make drafts for anything I paint, I just pick up my brushes and directly paint.”
– Rukhe Neelofur
Today art forms have broadened and techniques have escalated. There are a few artists who focus on enhancing the beauty of nature in their art. Pakistan is among those countries that have a history of veteran artists who have worked on every medium and brought a variety of subjects to life and into the spotlight.
Keeping in mind that art today is not just a language but a complete encyclopedia whereby every artist has a different level of approach towards a specific subject and medium.
When one talks about art in Karachi then one must know that the city is one of the main hubs of art galleries where artists from all over the world come to exhibit their work. Art Citi is among those galleries which have a clear ideology focusing on promoting the local art not only at the national level but also globally thereby making it a powerhouse.
In February Art Citi exhibited the absorbing art pieces of Lahore based artist Rukhe Neelofar who is known amid the art circles for her in-depth understanding of colors, experience of different mediums.
Neelofar began her career by painting portraits, mostly of women, and figures from bird’s eye view using oil as a medium. Those portraits were not painted as sensual subjects as she firmly believes that women should not be objectified as sexual commodities hence her physical features should not be exaggerated to symbolize sexual beauty.
After the 90’s she changed her medium from oils to tempera and later to gouache. With keen appreciation of the beautiful culture and tradition of the country she captures the glimpse of the rich culture and tradition of the country in her own style.
“I want to portray my background and culture in my work. I was never influenced by the western style of painting and I believe in highlighting my culture that is why in every work of mine you would see a glimpse of our culture. My subjects are traditional but treatment is contemporary”. Neelofar explicated.
The shift from figures to that of flora and fauna could never happen if she had not experienced seeing Monet’s art works. She believes that modern art is becoming depressing with complete concentration on social issues thereby spreading negative vibes among the viewers and the art fraternity at large.
Explaining her experience of how Monet’s art influenced her, she said:
“When I went inside a museum named Orangerie which is near Louvre, Paris, there was Monet’s work on display and the moment I started observing his work it was like some magic happening to me. It changed my thoughts and left such a positivity impact on me. I felt peace and happiness that took me into a pool of deep thoughts and made me realize the purpose of my existence.”
Growing and nurturing plants and creating a balcony-garden her love for nature blossomed. Her visit to the museum and her closer relation with nature influences her to draw inspiration from the plants she nurtures to create jungle scenes.
“When I was studying I never had an idea of painting jungle scenes and plants. I was good at portraits and figures but never explored this side of mine which could paint flora and fauna.”
Neelofar displayed 16 paintings in total using acrylic as a medium, which she believed suits her best. She added animals, birds and human in her work to depict the peace and harmony contrary to the current disturbing socio-political situation in the country. Her work is refreshing and peaceful not only for her but for her audience as well.
Mohammad Junaid, the Director of Art Citi gallery, commenting on the art work said: “Rukhe Neelofar is a veteran and her artworks are way mature. We have brought her work in the gallery just to change the trend of the forms of art displaying today in the galleries. There is a vibe of freshness that gives one an escape from the mundane.”
Her work was expressive and fascinating with complex details which was astounding for the audience and challenging for Neelofar to balance the beauty and intricacy together in her work.