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     Volume 8 Issue 92 | October 30, 2009 |

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Raw Emotions on Canvas

Fayza Haq

Landscape acrylic on canvas.

Paper lanterns and little oil lamps greeted the viewer at Chitrak on Mustaque Ahmed's solo's exhibition last weekend. Mustaque prefers working on acrylic on canvas as it's easy to handle and dries quickly. His subjects are emotions-- his own and those of others that he comes across. The numerous faces that he paints are ordinary ones one sees in a crowd -- some full of angst, others full of hope. "I try to catch the changes of the faces and the elements."

His painting on the chair brings in elements of loneliness and despair. The shades of grey and black that introduce the subject speak of the everyday humdrum of life. "I don't want to force any ideas or opinions on the viewer,' says Mostaque. "The colours in the painting reflect my mood and feeling." The "Bench" with the broken wall in the backdrop and nondescript ground below speak of the unremarkable city life. The bench remains uncaring and uncared for. There is no element of excitement in any form. Dull, drab and innocuous -- that is the effect.

As for the portraits-- they are mostly built around his imagination, although, at times, models did give him a sitting or two. "I'm not a realistic painter. The models were just to give me an idea. The series of the faces aims to capture heights and depths of human emotion. The portrait of Bangobandhu is a little different. The national flag forms his body. The red stands for his sacrifice. The expression on his face is the last that one may recall," says Mostaque.

The other faces are those of daily labourers, who struggle to exist and have little to look forward to. The colours used to depict them, like purple and sweeps of black, stand for pain and disappointment. "All throughout I try to capture the changing minds, moods and feelings,” says Mostaque. The faces are different and yet they almost all depict violent moods or hysterical ones. He uses unmixed paints, straight out of the tubes as well as markers. The colours are sometimes like rainwater seen against window pains. The artists goes against rules and regulations and does not wish to be classified.

When asked as to who were the painters that he admires, Mostaque says that he is fascinated by the whole range of them, beginning from Van Gogh to Shahabuddin, SM Sultan, Jamal Ahmed , Nisar Hussain, Rafiqun Nabi and Mohammed Kibria. "I also admire a lot of young artists," says Mustaque.

‘L’ Box; acrylic on canvas.
Chair; acrylic on canvas.

His paintings also capture the serenity of Chalan Bil. "Ten years from now the atmosphere there will be different and the fishermen will be operating in a different way," he says. On his other canvases he has brought in splashes of nature, capturing the surroundings in splashes of blues, browns and reds. A self-taught artists, Mustaque brings in elements of Fauvism in his works.

Mustaque has exhibited in Pakistan, India, Japan and the USA.


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