November issue 2010
I, a Woman
They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. In Akbar Hafeez’s case, beauty lies in the realm of his paintings. His canvases are his fields of expression and women his muse. Devoid of any formal training constraints, Akbar breaks free from societal shackles and demonstrates that creativity transcends established parameters.
Akbar is a natural-born artist — from dabbling in furniture and interior decoration to landscaping gardens, he has experimented with diverse creative expression. However, painting has, since 2000, remained his primary passion. Since then he has had multiple exhibitions, most complete sell-outs. And while Akbar has forged a distinct signature style, his work also reflects constant evolution.
Ever the colourist, his latest exhibition at Zenaini reveals a myriad of colours rendered with an interesting interplay of line and texture. His palette remains just as feisty as ever with interesting textural juxtapositions: stark planes of colour vie for space with heavily layered forms. And there is a liberation in these canvases. The women in his earlier work seemed to exist in guilded cages, their eyes holding dark secrets. These women revel in their gender. They are free to dream of other worlds, to take flight with the birds that have perhaps become symbols in paintings of his and his subjects’ flights of imagination.
The turbans on the women’s heads in his new canvases seem to indicate a certain androgyny, also reflective perhaps of new-found empowerment.
Akbar Hafeez’s art work is a story in progress — getting richer with every telling.