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Lot Details

Signed 'Jamil Naqsh' (lower left)

(Lot Note: From a set of 100 calligraphy paintings from the series 'Allah and the 99 names of God')

Pontone Gallery, London
Private collection, Dubai

Jamil Naqsh: 'The Painted Word', Albemarle Gallery, London, 4 July 2013 - 31 August 2013

Edward Lucie-Smith, Jamil Naqsh: The Painted Word, Albemarle Gallery, London, 2013, pg. 199 (illustrated)

When one considers the recent history of contemporary art - a form of expression that increasingly struggles to maintain avant-garde credentials as these are defined by Western critics and curators, one increasingly notices the creative contribution being made by non-Western scripts which tend to contain a pictorial element that is absent from Western alphabets. Arabic script differs from Chinese ideograms in an important respect - ideograms are in fact condensed and stylized pictures, and this element is absent in Arabic, although Arabic writing can be used playfully to construct stylized images of things that exist in the eternal world. A skilled calligrapher can make an animal or a flower. What Arabic script can do is to supply a portal, the entry point to a realm of the imagination that cannot be defined in words alone. Jamil Naqsh's version of the '99 Names' do not merely spell out a meaning - they invite both meditation and speculation.

Text Reference:
Edward Lucie-Smith, Jamil Naqsh: The Painted Word, Albemarle Gallery, Exhibition catalogue, unpaginated

Jamil Naqsh

(1939 - 2019)
Born in 1939, in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, India, Jamil Naqsh moved to Karachi in Pakistan following the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. In 1953, he enrolled at the National College Art (then Mayo College) in Lahore, but did not complete his education there, leaving after two years to study art on his own. Naqsh’s mature style is a blend of cubism – in the way he treats form and texture – tempered with fluidity and a subtle use of colour. Naqsh has painted the female form in many of his canvases replete with poise and grace. In another series of paintings he pairs pigeons and doves with the female form, symbolic of love, peace and gentleness. One more series of works, inspired by the Italian sculptor Mario Marini, who captured the beauty of the horse in his work, combines the elegance of the nude female with the sturdy grace of the equine figure. Naqsh’s work has been exhibited extensively in Pakistan, India, the UK and the UAE. Between 1960 and 68 he served as Co-Editor of Seep, an Urdu literary magazine, and between 1970 and 73 as President of the Pakistan Painters Guild. Among the artist’s many honours are medals and awards from the Pakistan Art Council, Karachi; the Ministry of Culture, Pakistan; and the Arts Council of Pakistan. In 2009, Naqsh was awarded the Sitara-e Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, and in 2003, a retrospective of his work was held at the Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi, a rare honour for a living artist. Naqsh passed away on May 16, 2019 after a sudden and brief illness, at St. Mary's hospital in London. He is recognized as one of the most important painters from Pakistan.