Art for Eternity by Iqbal Durrani

Artciti invites you to an exclusive exhibition of paintings by Iqbal Durrani. Visit their gallery on the 19th of April, 2018 to view his outstanding work. You can also visit their website to view or buy the art online.

“I paint because I feel it in my blood. What stimulates my spirit and what runs in my arteries, are the nature’s heavenly forms that thrive on this soil amidst water, wind and the sun. From all the gifts of heaven, it is the human figure that I have always felt closer to, owing to its fascinating structure and intelligence. For instance, the dynamic articulation of the female figure, with its graceful movements never seems to tire the eye. Incidentally, an artist’s observation goes much beyond a simple eye contact. It is the feminine beauty of the torso that has intrigued many painters for centuries, and I am no exception. 

The nature’s generous improvisations that alter with every passing moment tend to draw attention, igniting my desire to express these wonderful rewards in paints. Amongst the rich flora and fauna, I choose to paint flowers and pigeons, which are either individually depicted or in combination with the human figure. It is the magic of light that makes me perceive the wonderous hues and tints that lie under the surface of the elements that I paint. I develop a sort of connection with the composed subjects to an extent that empathy begins to manifest itself in my work.” – Iqbal Durrani


Painting women, flora and fauna has fascinated artists since the stone age. Like in many other finds, the ancient caves of Lascaux in France, which date back almost 20,000 years, depict the human desire to portray living creatures and plants. On a similar note, Iqbal Durrani, a passionate painter for decades, has been intrigued with life forms and vegetation. While his expression is pure empathy, the remarkable composition and color give his work a distinguished outlook.

Durrani’s emotional affinity to the female form has pushed his expressive frontiers beyond contemporary realism into a domain of visual pleasure. In the manner which he interprets the torso of a woman, tends to engross the audience into a heavenly fantasy – a mystic journey through subtle innuendos and vibrant nuances! It is the interactive characteristic of the artist’s spontaneous figures that delightfully but wordlessly connect the viewers to the paintings.

The contemporary form of the female figure emanates from the Ancient Greeks, who sculpted nude male figures of muscular athletes as ideal humans or gods. Later, female statues were also introduced with similar grace and beauty. During the Middle Ages, however, the nude disappeared from art except for the occasional Adam & Eve. It was later in the Renaissance period that the nude was restored with a similar perfect figure of idealized gods and goddesses – an example is Michelangelo’s David portrayed as a hero from the Bible. In the current exhibition, Durrani chooses to depict subtle sexuality in an obscure manner, barely discernible, which grants elegance to the composition. Some of the works explore sensuality and the feelings of their characters, while others go deeper into the realm of surrealism. The Modern nudes by Lucien Freud or Jenny Saville are artworks that have endured simply because they always included something more; an emotional connection, empathy.

According to Durrani, he prefers to paint human subjects with a vow to capture their character and essence which he deciphers from the eyes of the respective model. The addition of elements such as flowers, pigeons and in some cases his self-portrait, gives Durrani a greater flexibility to narrate visual episodes that are closer to life, creating a larger spiritual montage. With a seasoned control over the palette knife, his multi-layered paintings transform the female portraiture into vibrant and sensually alive canvases. The resultant texture from the random movements of the knife adds yet another interesting element to Durrani’s paintings. The remarkable level of skill to organize a canvas with such a diverse set of aesthetic ingredients, has given the artist a singular identity. The use of knife-driven impasto and thick layers of paint is a technique that requires many years of practice and experience – which in this exhibition is abundantly obvious from the consistent characteristic of application from one painting to another.

The generous use of blue and green stems from the artist’s proximity to the shores of the Arabian Sea which he watches every day from his home. The waves of azure waters that constantly wash ashore add life to the stillness of the corniche. Imbibing the serenity of the distant waters, the artist emulates inner peace through his brush to share it with those who would see his work. The bold encounters of complementary colors in his paintings, such as red colliding with cyan, green against magenta, and blue contiguous to yellow, are considered a daring maneuver; however, Durrani tackles the myth of opposing colors with great dexterity. Maintaining a remarkable freshness in pigments, the artist induces dynamics in his work which sets targeted elements into motion.

Painting self-portraits has been widely practiced by painters, perhaps not because they loved their faces or were self-centered, but because they needed a model when there wasn’t any. Durrani has also been fond of portraying himself to add a model to the female figures that he paints so frequently. With his strong facial profile, the artist’s self-portrait with a female heightens the grandeur of the composition. Simplifying the drawings intelligently, he manages to control the painting to achieve an easy-on-the-eyes canvas – refreshing and serene.

Durrani’s use of space and composition, topped with a white-enriched palette of colors, gives depth and mood to the painting. The skillful modelling of various elements tends to give a three-dimensional effect which produces a lively impact, which is inherent in the exhibited inventory. He considers that every color is an important component of painting and can add excitement if used with a sensitive approach.

“I paint because I want to share my experiences with others. Another objective is to remain alive, even when I have passed away, through my work as we are all mortal actors on this worldly stage,” says Durrani, “The one thing I am sure of is that my painting will always have something new to be discovered every next day that it is seen.” The artist feels that these paintings are timeless and will remain in vogue for all times to come! -Saeed Kureshi

Event Name: Art for Eternity by Iqbal Durrani
Venue: Art Citi | Plot 36-C, 2nd Floor, Office #2, Bukhari Lane 13, Khayaban-e-Shujaat, Phase VI, DHAKarachi, Pakistan
Date: Feb 22 till Feb 25, 2018
Day: Thursday – Sunday
Time: 6pm – 8pm
Contact number: +9221-35250495, +9221-35250496
Whatsapp: +923362700975
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