Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  

Success breeds success
Sheikh Afzal's exhibition receives accolades in Pakistan

Sheikh Afzal, who has had accolades and achievements galore, held his solo exhibit recently at Hamail Art Gallery, Lahore. Known for his immaculate portraits and remarkable figurative work, Afzal has won admiration of the art enthusiasts in Pakistan. Earlier last year Afzal has had grand success in France and the Middle East. Trained in Japan, and having studied under our local fine arts experts, he is today flushed with success abroad.

"I'm grateful for the appreciation overseas, specifically most recently in Lahore for the ten-day solo exhibit. I had the opportunity to meet the veteran artist, Said Akhter, who does figurative work like myself. I chose Hamail Art Gallery, Gulberg for my venue of the Lahore display, as I'd met the gallery owner earlier in 2006, during the Asian Biennale at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy -- who then prepared my exhibit schedule. I found the patrons, connoisseurs and visitors most encouraging. This was, moreover, covered extensively by the news media in Pakistan," said Afzal.

Asked to compare his experience in Pakistan with those in Bangladesh, India, and the Middle East, Afzal said that the paintings by our masters and those of the younger generation of experimentalists are surely ahead of those in Pakistan and on par with artists in India. As he had the evocative essence of the Mughal past and this was lapped up, despite the inherent conservative environment in Pakistan and the Middle East. Chughtai, one of their earliest painters went in for figurative painting, as did also Sadequain and Gulgee, he said. In Bahrain, in 2004, Afzal found the local artists went in for landscape and calligraphy, but they too admired his work. Similarly in Lahore, nude study was not a definite no-no, he added.

Sheikh Afzal, born in 1960, works in oil, mixed-media, acrylic and water-colour. He presents his female forms with delicate texture work in the backdrop and forefront. He has won numerous awards from Bangladesh, Japan and Spain. His group exhibitions, in large number, were held mostly in Japan and Bangladesh. He has also participated in many workshops abroad and at home.

Composition-I (L) and My Model-II by Sheikh Afza