Zulfi’s rich canvases explore diverse dimensions of realism. The presence of trees, clouds, and rivers add the element of simplicity, depicting nature as well as the serene life of countryside. While the carts, pedestrians, banners and architectures are the accurate depiction of modern day life. It is in fact the truthful description of the apparent world, which sets the realist painters apart from rest. But what makes the paintings of Zulfi sacred, is the way he paints the four seasons as one can feel the element of spirituality germinating from his work. Zulfi’s works contain a gentle feel of each season depicted in the artworks. The presence of gentle wind, and light pouring through mist, the slight movement of leaves or waves in the river, is manifested in his paintings.
Zulfi experimented with mist three years ago and was fascinated by its romance. Enfolded in mist even the ugly appeals to the aesthetics of the artist and consequently to the viewer as well. But what Zulfi paints are scenes from the Punjab, especially Dera Ghazi Khan which is still alive in the deep down recesses of his unconscious. He was born and had his early education at Dera Ghazi Khan and then left the town at a tender age. Zulfi, a keen observer of nature, noticed romance in mist and then he found soft light when the mist was washed away by winter rain. He felt the beauty of it and started painting the light. These were progressions on his canvas not by design but by a natural process.
According to Marjorie Husain, “Zulfiqar Ali Zulfi is a painter of the landscape genre with two decades of painting to his credit. In Zulfi’s paintings it appears we are all observers. Often standing on the threshold of light. Almost grisaille in his approach to the media, he is a master of chiaroscuro, mornings are cloaked with mist, the tall trees dramatic, leafless silhouettes.
Noshi Qadir, the curator of gallery said that “Zulfi is a realist painter, but his paintings, be they landscapes or cityscapes are more than an imitation of what is seen. He has the magic of capturing the essence of the vignette that he replicates on canvas.” Beyond realism, the artist understands his subject matter well. Zulfi’s imagery, she added, is idyllic and delightful – he is a master of capturing seasons and times of day- In his landscapes one actually fees the breeze and smells the grass- The foggy winter morning scenes are truly cold and the sunny landscapes warm and brilliant.
The artist is the recipient of the Presidents Pride of Performance award. He has several solo and group shows to his credit and his paintings are in major collections home and abroad.