City Culture – Yousuf Art Gallery

The Art for middle class is dead. The Popular Culture is hitting a new low everyday. Few dare to prove it otherwise. Its nobility of biblical stature if one does it in Clifton Block 2. The block which has become a sewerage hole. Checkpoints around the block gifted by a democratic set-up has increased the traffic density on its streets. The commercial part of the block which boasted famous hangouts of yore is best to be avoided now. Therefore to reach a friend’s house I took a detour and there I found, in midst of shops selling boredom, an artist painting horses. Uber confused I decided to wear Karachi Walla’s hat.

Yousuf decided to paint six or seven years ago. He uses oil and acrylic paints and experiments with portraits, landscapes and calligraphy. He loves horses which show up frequently in his work. He had one energetic helper who turned whole shop around in his effort to sell me a painting.

“I don’t have any wall left in my home”, I told him apologetically.

He stared at me blankly and continued turning around painting in order to bring them in my camera’s frame. I asked Yousuf if Art is for elite only now. He did not think so. Most of his paintings range from couple of thousands to ten and there is a market for it. The nearby shops sell apparel and tailoring services. There is not much of synergy around but people still drop by.

“I tried selling my work to few of established galleries but they don’t want replicas.”, he told me without regret. Most of his initial work consisted of replicas of Masters’ work. “Now I draw my inspiration from work of Pakistani photographers who cover nomadic life.” He went through his disk drive and showed me some pictures. Yousuf’s detailing has improved with time. Lately he has experimented with calligraphy and is very happy with the results. But his last painting features a muscular macho man which he proudly took out for me to capture.

His shop is at the corner of shopping galleria which spans from one end of the commercial area to another. Near by shopkeepers gather around his shop to have sip of tea and gossip. Yousuf’s shop lifts the area around which is quite forgetful otherwise.

The Art for middle class is not dead. is not dead yet. Mashallah. God has willed it.

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Categories: City Culture

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