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In June this year, an extraordinary art event took place in London when an extensive display of Jamil Naqsh’s paintings was exhibited in two large halls of the Albemarle Gallery, London. In one hall a collection of paintings was titled Homage to Picasso London – as the recently worked artworks had been painted in that city.

The second gallery on a lower level contained a collection of paintings titled Memories of Doves and Pigeons. Throughout the dual exhibition, one was deeply aware of the exquisite quality of the artist’s brushwork and the unique textural element that describes Naqsh’s work.

Tony Pontone of the Albemarle Gallery stated, “the majority of the works in this inspired and visionary collection have never previously been exhibited and were specifically reserved for Homage to Picasso London.

In this collection, one discovered the symbolic figures of Picasso’s mythical symbols painted in the matchless style of Naqsh. A startling visual contrast came by way of large, white burqa clad forms seen through the cotton mesh of the all enveloping covering. A painting titled Taurus and Veiled Figure created a universal aesthetic language in a stunning collection of work that broke all cultural boundaries.

The internationally known art critic and historian Edward Lucie-Smith stated that many of Naqsh’s paintings are best thought of asvisualghazals, expressions of a particular state of romantic feeling. He has published numerous books on art and is a published poet. The Memories of Doves and Pigeons collection inspired him to write An English Ghazal for Jamil Naqsh. Reproduced in the Albemarle catalogue it contained the words:

What message arrived
With those wings through the window?
A flutter of snow
In the darkness of the window…
An insolent rival
Sends words through the window…

Visitors from several countries enjoyed the experience of viewing close up the textures and brushstrokes of the artist’s work. One felt privileged to somehow communicate with this extraordinary modern master; we shall not see his like again.

– Marjorie Husain
The writer is one of Pakistan’s leading art critics.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 2, 2012.