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Fisher woman of my Mohenjo-Daro

Fisher woman of my Mohenjo-Daro took place at the Jamil Naqsh Museum on the 29th of December, 2018. The body of work, made by the master himself, was presented to a crowd of people on a quiet evening comprising of various artists, art collectors and some family and friends of the artist. This particular body of work consisted of over seventy pieces in which the artist had created yet another continuation to his previous body of works with the presence of his ever iconic motifs; pigeons, the female nude and the technique of cubism. Interestingly, this time there were many other recurring motifs in Naqsh’s work and even a slight shift of color palette; possibly more somber and duskier.

Naqsh’s depiction of the female nude this time was not merely a celebration, but rather a glorification of it being a sacred entity. If we look back into the history of the busts and figures of the female body found from the excavations of Mohenjo-Daro, many were given the status of goddesses as the female body was possibly considered holy. Similarly the fisherwoman, existing or possibly a construct of Naqsh’s imagination, could be representative of a goddess. In some paintings, the artist has created portraits of various women while in some visuals, curvaceous female bodies are depicted. Taking the most prime example of Venus of Willendorf which was a voluptuous figure, was given the status of a deity because of the reproductive powers of the female body and hence, women were considered as epitomes of worship.

Another interesting observation that could be made about Naqsh’s work is the depiction of fish in his work. According to the ancient relics found at Mohenjo-Daro, the symbol of fish could be reflective of it being equal to the god of waters and fertility[1] and hence, the depiction of the fisherwoman in the artist’s work could be symbolic of her status as a goddess. Secondly, Naqsh has shown horns growing out of the female figures’ heads in multiple visuals, possibly symbolizing the notion of power. According to the ancient Bull seal found at Harappa which portrays the great Zebu Bull, the bull symbolizes as being the most powerful[2] hence, Naqsh has possibly depicted these horns on the female body as a symbol of their strength and power.

In Fisherwoman of my Mohenjo-Daro, it seems as if Naqsh has given the female body a higher stature and has decided to go back into the past and study in depth, the roots of his own being, through womanhood. His earlier work, which has always focused on the female nude and its relationship with that of pigeons, looked back at the past that can never be retrieved and the time that has gone by[3]. Since the previous works were a homage to his past which comprised of his childhood family house in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, the recent body of work seems to be a reflection of him delving further back into time to discover not only his own identity but to understand the existence of womanhood itself. Taking the recurring motif of the female body in his work, it could perhaps be symbolic of Naqsh’s own identity and how his identity has evolved over time as he continues to build on his body of work and language.

Jamil’s work not only moved through a different time period but his visuals seem to be embracing the essence of that time, as if they had actually been pushed back into the past, taking into consideration the grainy texture of his paintings and the visuals looking like actual seals from Mohenjo-Daro, as if the visuals have actually gone through the experience of seeing that era live and have brought back remnants of it with themselves. To witness Jamil Naqsh’s artworks in person were not only an experience itself, but they also leave the viewers in awe of his mesmeric skill.






















  1. com, Fish and the God of Waters, Retrieved from https://www.harappa.com/script/parpola8.html.
  2. com, Bull seal, Harappa, Retrieved from https://www.harappa.com/indus/27.html.
  3. Lucie-Smith Edward, Jamil Naqsh – Memories of Doves & Pigeons, published by Albemarle gallery, London.

[1] Harappa.com, Fish and the God of Waters, Retrieved from https://www.harappa.com/script/parpola8.html.

[2] Harappa.com, Bull seal, Harappa, Retrieved from https://www.harappa.com/indus/27.html.

[3] Lucie-Smith Edward, Jamil Naqsh – Memories of Doves & Pigeons, published by Albemarle gallery, London.


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