THE ENIGMA OF MODERN ART IN PAKISTAN IN DERAILING CONCEPTIONS
PAKISTANIS SMITTEN WITH WESTERN OBSESSION OF ONE NIGHT STANDS
Empty heads, empty hands, without creativity or talent of any kind
The primitive man living in caves drew their heart out on the walls on the sanctuaries of cave dwellings. We find that today ever meaningful in their quest of fulfillment. They had more vision with rudimentary crayons of singular colours than many of today with fancy materials and equipment. As civilization progressed, different levels of creativity haunted man. But from day one to the medieval ages, it was always the appeasement of gods and the submission of religious thoughts to the creative impulse. Islam was the first way of life which freed Art from religion and for the first time we had the concept of ART FOR ART SAKE. Everything under the Sun became the symbolism of this Art movement which spread itself and innovated with their own passions. But each was a chain link, a step of evolutionary trait of particular kind. There was no subject that that Islamic artist did not tackle, contrary to the conservative wave of today’s worlds.
Great Art is only of one kind. It is Art which outlives its time. Western aesthetics discarded all that went before and joined the tirade of Modernism in Art. The best comparison that can be made is that they no longer believed in the institution of marriage and delved in one night stands. This art reflected that tendency as with each hour and each day, they modified themselves in the ART OF ANARCHY. This Art had nothing behind it, nothing in front of it. It was Art with a singular purpose to SHOCK and it shocked the sensibilities of people. Artists search for the ideal landscapes in the waste paper basket and a great Master like Sadequain could say on television that his Art was not of glitter but of the Gutter. Yes that is on record as well as the statement that Quranic calligraphy was not possible for him without indulging in some alcoholic content in his body. Yes it was said on TV and I heard and saw it myself.
Islam called for ijthehad in all things. You could have the same in Art as well. You could go anywhere you liked but you had to be part of a chain towards an evolutionary progression. Pakistan’s obsession with MODERNISM was a borrowed theme here. It had no national capacity. A hippie crowd with french beards and puffing pipes and torn jeans, salvaged Picasso without the talents of Picasso itself. Most of these artists were not from the area of Pakistan. They migrated from India and interestingly they did not migrate in 1947. Even as late as 1960s the migration was on. What prompted them to migrate? Good financial conditions in Pakistan or good financial backing from lobbies meant to derail Pakistan from the annals of its Ideology. One night stands may be fun for people but in our culture, it becomes a cardinal sin.
Our Art has room to grow and will continue to grow. But not on seedlings from the West. It will grow on its own impetus. The journey from Mani to Kamal uddin Behzad to M.A. Rahman Chughtai is worth studying. Chughtai Art was all new. New style, new technique, new everything and yet here the modern rascals termed him as a traditional painter. As if the word tradition itself was a sin. Chughtai Art grew on tradition but he is referred as the Modern Contemporary Artist of Pakistan in international circles. For the other goofs imitating others way of life, he was to be feared as the IDENTITY OF PAKISTAN. Modern Art sole aim was to destroy our Ideology and interestingly they did not get away with it. The number of admirers could be counted on finger tips, while the others, baffled into submission as to some hidden content which was not possible for them to fathom in any way. Art has to make you think, yes, but first, it has to please your senses. To soothe the nerves of living in life, and to relax and invigorate man towards his struggle for civilization. Just making fool of people is the way of life of the so called Modern Artist of Pakistan. They are already relics of the past.