The water-colour paintings by Dr. Ajaz Anwar, put on display at National Art Gallery on Tuesday, were more than mere art. Dr. Anwar, by employing water-colours, has revived the grandeur of past cultural life of Lahore city – also known as the cultural centre of Pakistan.
The exhibition of paintings is a huge one, comprising of about 230 paintings by Dr. Ajaz Anwar, the veteran artist and also some 55 cartoon sketches by Anwar Ali, the pioneer in cartoon journalism in Pakistan.
The fine exhibition was inaugurated by H.E. Mustafa Babur Hazlan, the Ambassador of Turkey. “The artist has beautifully created vivid memory of Lahore using water-colours, a medium which is more difficult than others” said the Turkish Ambassador while appreciating the work of the artist and his flair for the Turkish language. “Dr. Anwar is more than an artist, he is a historian, who has brilliantly documented the culture, art and traditions of Lahore city” remarked Mr. Hazlan.
Ajaz Anwar, artist and writer, became acquainted with the creative world of art and culture because of his father, Anwar Ali, country’s eminent political cartoonist who drew a sardonic character named ‘Nanna’ that held up a satirical mirror to the society. Tauqir Nasir, DG of Pakistan National Council of the Arts, lauded the tremendous contributions of Dr. Anwar as a water colourist and writer in the field of art and noted that: “He has captured the vanishing architectural beauty of old Lahore through his exquisite colour renderings.”
The red and yellow-coloured buildings, a clear blue sky dotted with multi-coloured kites and the young, children on rooftops, was a common sight in his paintings. The celebration of the kite flying festival called Basant, reminded of a cheerful past of the city when the eve of spring was celebrated with full fervour. The depiction of the legendary architecture of Lahore, in the paintings of Ajaz, is a brilliant reminder of the diminishing city culture as most of the old buildings of Lahore have now disappeared or their fascias have been badly damaged.
Speakers also noted that the artist has preserved the history of cultural city of Lahore through his work which would help to promote the socio cultural traditions and folk heritage of Pakistan. While the cartoon sketches reflect the political and social issues in the society of 60s and 70s but are still relevant in modern age.
The exhibition that would continue till May 18 would be followed by a water colour workshop conducted by Dr. Ajaz Anwar from 17th- 19th April while a reading session titled “Extracts from Dr. Ajaz Anwar’s memoirs” will be held on May 10.