June Issue 2012

By | Arts & Culture | Published 12 years ago

Photography, sculpture and poetry come together in the exhibit titled ‘Chiselled Poem’ at the Photospace gallery last month.

Photographer Arif Mahmood’s camera captured the sculptures — 144 pieces in all — made by renowned artist Shahid Sajjad.

The photographs, bar one, were all in black and white. It is easy to see why Arif Mahmood chose to photograph the well polished, chiselled sculptures as they catch the light so well. Sharp edges reflect the light which appears stark white in contrast to the deep grooves which create a niche for shadows. Criss-cross marks made by the chisel created a pattern of dark and light that lends itself well to black and white photography.

02Arif_M06-12Each photograph has a calligraphic inscription of Urdu poetry mostly by Ghalib, Mir or Faiz. The verses were chosen by Zehra Nigah, who selected them after looking at the photographs.

There are three people’s perspectives on display, explains Arif Mahmood. There is Shahid Sajjad’s perspective since he created the sculptures. Then there is Arif Mahmood’s interpretation as he views the pieces from his lens. And finally, Zehra Nigah’s take on the pieces as she selects couplets that reflect the mood of the work.

Arif Mahmood says he was inspired to photograph Shahid Sajjad’s work after seeing his retrospective exhibition at the Indus Valley School of Art in 2010. He was touched by the “very rare humility and openness” of the artist. He photographed 144 pieces and 15 of these photographs are on display at the gallery. A book of these photographs was launched at the exhibition, that was attended by Shahid Sajjad and his family, friends and a circle of admirers.

This art review was originally published in the June issue of Newsline.