Skin show

Written by Suman Tarafdar | Updated: Apr 27 2008, 06:09am hrs
Are painting roadside hoardings a lucky mascot for artists Well, following in MF Husains illustrious footsteps, heres another south Asian artist who started the same way and is rapidly gaining recognition from the global fraternity.

Twenty-something, Ali Kazim from Patokki, Pakistan, has graduated from the countrys leading art college, the Lahores National College of Arts, besides attending a host of programmes in western art centres. And his search has taken him on an exploration of mediums from paper to leather and now skin. Its messy, its stinky, its a weird experience but it has the authentic feel, something I always aspired to get in my work, says Kazim, whose works are on display all at Gallery Espace, Delhi, till May 7.

After his graduation, Kazim has been honing his creative skills towards simplifying the presentation of his subjects. The current show has about 20 plus recent paintings, besides two portraits on leather and three works on goatskin (the skin colour is retained, and the variance in the shaving of the hair determines the final shape of the work!). Textured human bodies, especially heads, usually with luminescent backdrops are interspersed with greys, largely on wasli. These are in sharp contrast to the works on leather and skin, where the medium comes into play in a more prominent way. Skin is his preferred medium, and he has a special intimacy, almost sensuality, towards it. Its about sensation and touch, and working on it gives a special satisfaction, explains the artist, whose works portray influences of artists like Rameshwar Broota and Jogen Chowdhury.

Firmly rooted in south Asian inspirations, Kazim also sees Pakisani art as being in a nascent stage, and sees it coming to the forefront in about five years. That, he says, will be when a lot of my generation, training in various parts of the world, will come together to give a boost to art in the country.