Personal Spaces – Farrukh Naseem – Painter, Pakistan Chowk

Uber Talented. Watch out for Farrukh Naseem. He is going to go places with his craft. The Karachi Walla arranged to meet him at Pakistan Chowk, where we had met some months back for the first time. I was taking some people around and I noticed him along with other painters busy painting city life and architecture. Read about it here.

We have a cola at a roadside cafe before going to his studio. He tells me about his plans of having solo exhibition. The hotel cashier looks at him and smiles. He tells me that he has grownup in this area and everyone around knows him well and eagerly follows his progress as an artist. We pay the bill and walk towards his house. Pakistan Chowk used to be a cultural hub back in the day when students of DJ, NED, DOW and resof Sevakunj, Mitharam and Jinnah courts gathered the cafes around the area along with the residents, who people claim to be the most learned across the city. A lot of original residents moved to other neighborhoods after uncontrolled commercialization of the area but you will still find gem of people in forgotten corners and less trodden alleys.

The area had immense impact on Farrukh’s work. Pakistan Chowk features in lot of his paintings. Forgotten alleys, decorated windows, motifs on entrances, wooden balconies and arches. People and other everyday life features in his paintings too but his primary focus seems to be architecture around his canvas. Is it just the appreciation of architecture or sense of loss and helplessness. I see hints of both as we walk down the street. He shows me a building and next to his home which has broken down at places. He wistfully wonders at the amount of commitment and craft which went into building it.

We climb up to his studio which is in under-construction portion of his house. There are no fixtures installed. A gloomy white bulb dangles above his canvas and a makeshift fan helplessly trying to keep the temperature down. His work is spread all around along with brushes, tubes, easels and others. There is a beauty in its disorder.

Farrukh Naseem has been working with Abdul Hayee, the great watercolor painter and been practicing at various locations in fisheries. Therefore you will see a lot of boats in the pictures below. He has eclectic collection of easels most of which are picked up from flea markets across the city. Some of the easels would cost thousands of rupees if bought new but flea markets provide a cheaper alternative to Farrukh and other upcoming artists. We step out to have a look at the neighborhood. There is a chaos; new concrete eating up old glorious structures, garbage accumulating in corners, a lot of honking, lots of pollution. And yes no one talks about trees. The trees that made Karachi green once are dying. The surviving ones appear in a state of mourning. Farrukh is not insensitive to his surroundings but he still finds inspiration in it, transforming gloominess around him into a piece of art, a thing of beauty.

You can follow him here.

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One Comment on “Personal Spaces – Farrukh Naseem – Painter, Pakistan Chowk”

  1. August 21, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    I just discovered this. Thanks. As a Karachiwalla myself from 1934 to 1948 i have many fond memories. There was (is?) a bookstore Thomas & Thomas started by my father and his cousin K.I.Thomas ( head of D.J. Sindh college at that time). I will keep reading .

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