Ismail Gulgee Solo Exhibition
Sept 21 - Oct 26, 2019.
Eye For Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of world-renowned Pakistani artist Ismail Gulgee.
"My work is the externalization of my inner journey. Through it, I communicate with the pulse of life. The calligraphic form and movement that emerges are not predetermined or cerebral, it is intuitive and articulates something deep inside me. it is important that no thought of how people react to my work intrudes, as that would destroy the thread and take the truth away. I am enchanted by Islamic calligraphy and feel close to the Sufi mystics. At the mystic level, barriers met away and religious experience whether Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim become one. one could call it a human experience of the ineffable"
Ismail Gulgee is a globally famous Pakistani artist who was born in Peshawar on 25 October 1926, He did not receive any formal education in painting, as he was a self-taught artist. For his initial education of civil engineering, he went to Aligarh University and later he headed off to the US for the higher studies. He got admission to Columbia University and then the Harvard University of United States. During his training as an engineer at Columbia University, he just for fun started to paint. After moving to Harvard University, he adopted his pastime as a hobby and showed a keen interest in the painting. With the passage of time, he brushed up his art and painted some marvelous paintings.
After his higher studies, he came to Pakistan and as secretary; he joined Pakistan's Embassy in Ottawa. There he got ample of time to improve his art. Gulgee's first exhibition was held in 1950. later he adopted his hobby as a profession and became popular all over the world. He was requested by the Government of Afghanistan to paint King Zahir Shah's portrait. Then Gulgee painted the whole royal family and in 1959, arranged an exhibition of 151 paintings at Kabul. This was a turning point for Gulgee who then created many other portraits of Karim Agha Khan, Queen Farah, Zhou Enlai, and President Ayub Khan.
Until 1967, he focused on painting but then he started creating sculptures. Many glorious and outclass figures of bronze, silver, and gold were erected by him. in 1970 at Tokyo, he arranged the exhibition of verses of Quran that he painted. A huge and beautiful plat of star and crescent was created by the Gulgee for the Faisal Mosque of Islamabad.
He is known as an abstract artist. He was influenced by the action painting and was inspired by the Islamic calligraphy and action painting. Gulgee used quite large canvases as compared to other action painting and abstract artists. He was also known for using mixed media for his paintings as he used to use silver or gold leaves and glass mirror in his oil painting. Paintings of Gulgee were always bright and were full of colors.
He was awarded by the pride of performance, Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Imtiaz in the recognition of his work by the Government of Pakistan.