20 January, 2011

Artist depicts historic splendor through mixed media art

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: Bold colours, profound themes and splendid pieces of paper in the paintings of Samina Ali, takes one back into the magnificent history of Mughal era, one of the richest culture of the world. Samina Ali’s exquisite exhibition of paintings titled ‘Imprints – Historical Promises’ will open at Nomad gallery, Islamabad today.

During the press preview session on Wednesday, the artist Samina Ali said that being influenced by the historical achievements of Mughal dynasty, she aims to revive historical splendor of Mughal period through her artwork. Her influence grew stronger because of “residing in Lahore which is the center of Mughal architecture,” and reminds us of exemplary of Muslim architecture, said the Lahore-based artist, Samina Ali artist while talking to Pakistan Observer.

The paintings give a feeling that the artist has molded history with her contemporary experiments. The artwork, which at first look seems like a collage of woodcut, calligraphy, silver and gold leaf, is actually a blend of acrylics, natural dyes, vadri, stains while the artist has also “experimented with natural dyes and acrylics by introducing beetroot, tea, onion and coffee, to get the sepia and crimson hues.”

The artist “experiments with various media like acrylics, natural dyes, stains and her exclusive style of calligraphy to blend the imagery into an aesthetic contemporary composition reflecting elements of historical splendor” said Nageen Hyat, curator of the gallery.

The paintings are unique in the sense that the subjects are quite enlightening as the artist has not only made use of various media in one artwork but also various parts of one theme. For instance the painting on the theme of ‘rare fossil flower found’, includes a woodcut of fossil painting, history of flora as well as fossil, a news report on fossil flower with facts & figures, relative calligraphy & verses of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

The exhibition including unique 26 paintings by will continue from 20 Jan. – 3 Feb. (10am-6:30pm).


Calligraphy and repetition of Arabic texts on the wood-cut outline of each painting was rather an interesting peculiarity of the artist as Samina Ali, also an expert of history of Islamic art and architecture has creatively made use of calligraphy which is a significant Islamic art.
The artist has made use of recycled paper for all the paintings and each one of them has been layered around seven or eight times. Another painting on a social issue, i.e. water shortage, shows the capability of the artist over a wide area of subjects.