Ghulam Rasul (1942 - 2009)
Ghulam Rasul obtained his M.A in Fine Arts from the Punjab University and went on to take a Master’s degree in Printmaking in the USA, where he studied and taught from 1969 till 1972. Later he spent one year working with Professor Stanley William Hayter, at the renowned Atelier 17, Paris, and it is his involvement with printmaking that adds a unique signature element to Ghulam Rasul’s work. A recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance Award, he mounted numerous solo exhibitions ad represented Pakistan in many art events around the world. One finds idyllic landscapes in the artist’s oeuvre that are included in the national art collection. In 1998 Ghulam Rasul opened Studio 542 in Islamabad. He spent his working years with the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, retiring as Director General in 2002. Throughout the years he continued to paint outdoors and to create prints in his studio.
Gulgee (1926 - 2007)
Gulgee initially trained as an engineer and earned degrees from Columbia University and Harvard, USA but his passion for art overcame all other considerations. As a young artist in the 1950s, he was commissioned to paint portraits of the Afghan Royal Family. There he visited a marble plant and noticing the remnants of the chips of marble strewn across the floor, he conceived the idea of working with mosaic patterns. In this context he began to induct marble, then the blues of lapis lazuli in his work. While famed for his portraiture he yearned to devote his time to experimentation with abstraction. As far back as the `50s, while engaged in portraiture in Kabul, Gulgee held his first solo exhibition of non-figurative art in that city. It was to take years before he finally was free to devote himself to the powerful, gestural calligraphic imagery that he described as `emerging from deep within his own psyche. He was the recipient of many awards and honors, including the President’s medal for Pride of Performance awarded in 1970, the Sitara-e-Imtiaz 1982, Quaid-e-Azam Award 1988 and the Hilal-e-Imtiaz 1995.
Iqbal Hussain’s work offers an insight into a way of life that is an ancient tradition, and portrays it with stark reality. Hussain graduated from the National College of Arts in 1974, and remained at NCA to teach. His first solo exhibition was held at the Lahore Arts Council in 1981, and he continued to exhibit his work and earn prizes in national exhibitions. In the genre of landscape painting the artist encompasses the beauty of Lahore’s environs and brings to the work a personal viewpoint. Hussain perceives the life around him as a changing narrative and portrays it often in its stark reality. Now the patron of the popular, family run restaurant `Cooco’s Den’ Lahore, which overlooks the Badshahi Mosque and its surrounds, there Iqbal Hussain may often be found painting the changing seasons of the historic landmark.
In a still rapidly expanding art world, Jamil Naqsh holds a key position. Well known in Pakistan, he is also well established in international art circles. As an art student of Mayo School of Art in 1953, he absorbed the aesthetics of modern art but desirous of making a study of schools of traditional miniature paintings, he became a student of the master miniaturist Mohammad Sharif. With his Ustad, Naqsh learnt to sit for long hours at his work. Obsessed with the idea of line he sought an ethos that addressed his work in the decades to follow. He began to paint pigeons in the early 60’s and there were many implications in his choice of subject. By combining the mobile birds with the classic forms of women, Naqsh created a wondrous melding of movement and stillness. Jamil Naqsh demonstrates how an artist with major gifts has been able to enter into a fruitful relationship with Western Modernism, and thus link himself to what is now a worldwide community of visual artists.