M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI AND THE CHUGHTAI SCHOOL OF ART
NOT TRADITIONAL, NOT MODERN: JUST PURE CHUGHTAI ART
A dictionary defines the word ‘Modernism’ in this particular way:
“Modernism was a movement in the arts in the first half of the twentieth century that rejected traditional values and techniques, and emphasized the importance of individual experience.”
In this way it is clear that Modern Art was termed as Art done from 1900 to 1950, that rejected TRADITIONAL VALUES AND TECHNIQUES and spoke of a NEW EXPERIENCE. M.A. Rahman Chughtai, National Painter of Pakistan, and Modern Master of Islamic Civilization belongs to this particular period of time. The techniques used in painting before him were related to Oil Painting or Tempera painting. Both these techniques he rejected and evolved a new technique of his own, which was a amalgam of traditional Mughal techniques of painting with Japanese Water Colour Wash method. And the fresh innovation of the technique was all of his own making.
Working on various subjects beyond time value, he emphasized ideas from past, present and future and presented his own experience of them. As the great Islamic art scholar, Basil Gray wrote:
“By his natural gift for colour harmony and for sensitive and lively line assiduously developed, Chughtai was enabled to achieve a personal style which at the same time appeared like a fresh blossom grafted into an old stock, and thus at the same time both old and new.”
Simone Wille, a scholar working on ‘Modern Art in Pakistan’, has this to say about M.A. Rahman Chughtai:
“The South Asian Muslim artist Abdur Rahman Chughtai (1897-1975) and his contribution to modernity are significant for Pakistan’s art history, since Chughtai was the first artist to anticipate a Muslim cultural position located in Lahore, as opposed to a nascent Hindu and national art promoted by the Bengal School.”
In Pakistan nincompoop analysts and critics dismiss Chughtai as a Traditional painter. People who really know how to dissect art knows that this is not the case with him. He is totally new in his ideas, technique and working, and that is why his art is known as the CHUGHTAI SCHOOL OF ART and nothing else matters. Pakistan has not evolved art critics with capability of looking at the finer points of art. Art gimmickry abounds here and we write about it all the time. Gimmicks do not make great art at any time! Modern art in Pakistan is just copy masters of Western art and poor copy makers of all times. Without any Ideology, they float on funds provided by foreign masters. And sink in the anarchy of thoughtlessness without any feelings.