June Issue 2010

By | Society | Published 14 years ago

Media persons, advertisers, businessmen, fashion designers and art collectors joined hands with artists to pay tribute to a man who had touched their lives in one way or another.

Ali Imam — painter, art connoisseur, art critic, gallery owner and, above all, a teacher to many — was remembered with love and affection by friends Kamal Ahmed Rizvi and Aftab Tapal, wife Shahnaz and his two children, niece Nahid Raza and his Dubai-based protégé Nargis Khalid.

Rizvi talked of many a wonderful evening spent eating, drinking and chatting in Ali Imam’s drawing room; Tapal spoke of his initiation into art and art collection with Imam’s help; and Nahid recalled how ‘Imam uncle’ talked her parents into letting her drop science in favour of fine arts and tutored her in art and art appreciation through her days at the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts (CIAC).

Ali Imam was among the founders and the first principal of CIAC, which has seen some of the finest artists (Mansur Salim, Shakil Siddiqi, Samina Mansuri, Simeen Farhat, Omar Farid, Shakil Ismail) and teachers (Bashir Mirza, Masood Kohari, Rashid Arshad, Nahid Raza and Mehr Afroz) pass through its portal.

One caught a glimpse of those glorious years in TV One and Interflow boss Seema Taher Khan’s moving documentary on CIAC.

Set up in 1966, the art school is at present facing tough times. It needs funds desperately to refurbish and equip the studios, the labs and the library. So the tribute was also intended as a fund-raiser, and several artists including Noorjehan Bilgrami, Omar Farid, Tabinda Chinoy, Nargis Khalid, Nahid Raza and Imran Mir donated their work for the auction. Imran’s striking canvas fetched the highest amount: Rs 3.5 lakhs. Among the bidders were admen Taher Khan and Saquib Malik and designer Deepak Perwani.

Sculptor Amin Gulgee chipped in with an unusual performance titled “The Healing” (referencing his own turmoil and healing post his parents’ murder) and photographer Tapu Javeri exhibited some rare portraits of Ali Imam.

The evening was well-attended and organised by the CIAC team, headed by its indefatigable honorary secretary Niilofur Farrukh, editor Nukta, and her colleague Rumana Hussain.