I met Shafi Quraishy, a young painter now based in
Then I saw Shafi in
“Where is your Viswanathan-Hair?” I asked him. “Oh…now you have it, so I decided to go for a hair styling,” he said with a smile. I liked that and now he sounded like a Malayali with his perennial sense of black humour and cynicism. From nowhere he looked a struggler. But he told me that he had been trying to find his foothold in
Shafi studied painting in Trissur Fine Arts College, Kerala and then shifted to Cholamandal Artists village in 1995 and spent around eight years there. He started off his career in abstract painting (obviously he is influenced by the Cholamandal milieu). But he has something to add to this observation. When he was studying in Trissur, the major art discourses were centered around
When I look at the works of Shafi I find a strong painter in him. He moves from theme to theme. He seems be in an experimental mode always. A few paintings that he did in the last two years show his interest in environmental issues. He paints moon and its surface using violent brush strokes and gives a suggestion of the US Flag along with a child in mother’s womb. The sight in total is gory and indicates some kind of chaos. In another painting one could see a grown up man crouching in mother’s womb. Shafi seems to brood over an impending crisis of human race and his perennial wish to go back to the mother’s womb. His colors resemble those of Goya and Chardin. A pervading sense of violence is felt in all the canvases of this phase. This violence is palpable in the more figurative works of 2008. In the latest works Shafi invests his energy for finding out the sense of cruelty inflicted by man on man. He uses the images of
What I like in Shafi’s works is his ability to create energetic abstract fields of color. The works he did in 1995 and later in 2006-07 reflect his strength as an abstract painter. In a work titled ‘The Deep- A tribute to Jackson Pollock’ one could see how Shafi uses a painterly field to create a similar feelings evoked by a Pollock painting. Shafi does not imitate Pollock. He likes the physicality of the action paintings and his works have a lot to do with the energetic strokes that he makes. What he needs at this stage of his career is some kind of support from galleries. Also he needs to work on his concepts. There is a little bit of wavering and confusion when it comes to the choice of subject matter for his figurative paintings. May be one can watch out this artist as a future promise.
His works could be viewed at www.shafiquraishy.com