Jamil Naqsh’s exhibition, titled “Echoes” opened at the Pontone Gallery in London on July 27th, 2018.
These new series of paintings carried images from the oldest Indus Valley Civilization that offered an insight into the bygones of Moen Jo Daro. Many art lovers, enthusiasts and renowned artists were drawn to the gallery for a mere glance of what Naqsh had to offer this time.
Undoubtedly, the masterstrokes of the artist were an aesthetic delight for its viewers. Naqsh had raised the standards of painting history, especially the Indus Civilization that has been used countless times and has had an eye straining series of paintings by many artists from South Asia.
Instead of portraying the Indus Valley Civilization in a monotonous style, chose to paint the way he discerned and observed history. He had not restricted the subject, but composed the human female figures with fish, pots, bulls and un-deciphered Indus script in his customary and well-known style of painting without losing the realness of his subject.
He used each artefact and fused most of them with his signature nude female figures. Naqsh painted his signatory nude female like a living model in different postures; turning, bending, lying, disjoint regardless the steady statue posture of the “Dancing Girl”.
The subject he had chosen to work on had already influenced painters in the past and this may have been a challenge for Naqsh to transform it into something that could meet the level of understanding of a general viewer.
Naqsh had maintained the tradition of engaging viewers to entangle the complex strokes and understand modification yet bringing out the purity and true essence of the subject. On the other hand, he had stretched the boundaries to resuscitate other artists who had been looking at the history from one eye and fear transformation and revival in art.
The un-deciphered Indus scripts and impressions, bullocks, fish, and pots, notable components of Indus Civilization were well composed in each painting and added life to the values of bygones of an earlier age in an exceptionally talented way.
The soft earthy tones and light colors were used to enhance the features of women and dark shadowy colors were used to increase the depth. The elongated neck of the female was a symbol of beauty in Naqsh’s work whereas long hands of women were holding fish, pots, statue, that symbolized Indus Civilization and glorified Naqsh’s notion.
Instead of embellishing the head of the female with tiara or flowers, Naqsh had painted her wearing the bull horns, an emblem of the Indus Civilization, which amalgamated the two – human and animal – to show clear traces of animals in human life and their companionship by then.
While speaking about how this exhibition had added weightage to the portfolio of the master of generations, Tony Pontone, the founding Director of Pontone Gallery remarked: “Jamil Naqsh, the Indian-born, Pakistani contemporary master assembles the fragmented echoes of the ancient Indus Civilisation in his own personal and unique interpretation of this tantalising and enigmatic “lost” culture. This is arguably one of the most important exhibitions of the artist’s distinguished 60-year career, certainly one that Jamil Naqsh feels intimately connected with as he affectionately describes it “my Mohenjo-daro”
His masterly drawn human figures in abstract, surrounded by the traces of Indus Civilization, had revived the subject from scratch without losing the essence of antiquity that had strongly challenged the horizons of man-kind.
Naqsh had revived the interpretation of history in a completely different way and that could be seen in the fearless strokes of his brush creating chaotic and complex backgrounds echoing the narratives of Naqsh’s Moen-Jo-Daro.