Ather Jamal is an artist renowned for his immaculate painting techniques and perceptive powers of observation. Though he appreciates the moods of nature, he has been primarily interested in people and their lives. His impressions of the city are full of life showing street vendors, busy shoppers and people dodging the traffic on the roads. He is also intrigued by echoes of the past in Karachi’s old, neglected buildings showing vestiges of former glory and discovering remnants of design. Often in the artist’s cityscapes there are unexpected touches, serendipity, with nature throwing green shoots in unexpected places and large trees offering shelter to myriad birds.
Over a period of years the artist extensively documented the life of the people in the renowned `Thar’ series. In this work Ather Jamal captured the traditional costumes and jewellery of the womenfolk in contrast to the arid environment intended as research material for future generations to study.
In 1998 he was commissioned by the National Defence College, Islamabad, to paint a mural on the theme of the history of Pakistan, and he completed a forty feet by six feet artwork now prominently displayed; it may be viewed by visitors today. He also painted a magnificent portrait of the Quaid-i-Azam for the Presidency. Towards the close of the century he joined the faculty of the Indus Valley School as Associate Professor.