City Portraits – A. Rohani, Painter, Patel Pada

I remember looking at Rohani sb’s work for the first time at State Bank Museum which is the finest museum in the city and has been very well managed for many years now. Not only does it serve as great museum for coins and the history of currency but also serves as a fantastic art gallery. There are very few public spaces where you can see works of big names in art in Pakistan and Sadequain gallery on the first floor of the museum is among top choices. It gives you a rare opportunity to see Sadequain’s murals and other works up close.

State Bank Museum has a small but well stocked gift shop also which has an eclectic mix of collectibles and gift items. You may find some paintings there too. There will be more in a small room upstairs adjacent to Sadequain gallery. This is where I saw Rohani sb’s work first.

Rohani sb mostly created realist paintings of rural setting featuring villagers in their daily settings, with mud cottages making the backdrop. I kept running into his work at some of the galleries but could only met him once before. Few months back I happened to be in Patel Pada – where he lived – and luckily was available at his home. We met under the recently built bridge for Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which cut through Business Recorder Road for some length at a great height. It hasn’t been commissioned yet. Rohani sb was dressed in blue shalwar kameez and had a warm smile. He led us to a street off the main road and we reached his small home after a brief walk. We followed him to the first floor which has been serving as his studio. In the two tiny rooms we found more than a dozen semi-finished/finished works. Over the years he has started documenting more urban settings but has brought his typical touch to them. More familiar settings such as Seaview, II Chundrigar road and Kothari Parade features in his work now. From families having picnic at Seaview to labour working at Kothari Parade, rohani sb’s work often features simple settings which you often pass by without noticing. It was his gift that he could see beauty in those moments. It was his gift that he could transfer those moments to the canvas.

He has been taking a break from his work recently but plans to finish his work in progress and exhibit them through art galleries in Karachi.

Categories: City Portraits

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