February issue 2009

By | Society | Published 15 years ago

Painter, printmaker, architect, professor and sculptor — the father of contemporary Pakistani art, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq remains alive in the memories of those whose lives he touched in his eccentric but gentle ways.

The Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture commemorated his 10th death anniversary on January 20. Friends, family, students and colleagues gathered on the campus lawn, around the sculpture bequeathed by the artist, symbolising his vision for the school. Behind the sculpture, a large unfinished portrait of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, which has been hanging in Ardeshir Cowasjee’s house since Akhlaq’s death, stood facing the gathering.

Shehnaz Ismail and Nighat Mir stressed that Akhlaq must not be “relegated to textbooks alone,” and advised students to adopt “a learning process to bring him into your lives.”

Mansoora Hassan, a former student of Akhlaq, reminisced about his silent but powerful presence in the classroom. Dr Ghazala Hassan, sister of the late artist, remembered him lovingly with her poignant memories. Akhtar Hilal Zuberi remarked what an inspiration Akhlaq was, having devoted half of his life to art.

Ardeshir Cowasjee affectionately referred to him as his “most irresponsible friend” and handed out copies of his article “Chariya Zahoor,” published in Dawn as a tribute to his late friend.

The ceremony ended with the lighting of diyas that were placed around the school emblem.

— Faiza Shah