This art work speaks to me in my instinctive body language that i may have forgotten to use. It reminds me of thoughts that crossed my mind before birth; of stories embedded in my genetic history; of the colours of my dreams.
It brings us together: Birds, mamals, insects, humans. In us all- the trees, air, moons and stars. There is comfort, nurturing, healing and strength in our togetherness. In that, it shows me the possibility of a warm, inspiring and creative future.
The Artist says, “Kala Maindha Bhays (‘Black is my Appearance’, from Baba Sheikh Farid) is inspired from the myth of King Solomon who ruled all living beings, natural and supernatural; lions and goats would drink together such was the society he created. The Mughals generally disallowed figurative works but they made an exception, and in line with Muslim rule and justified by representation of Solomon, they ordered the artists to depict them in the image of Solomon with all surrounding icons and myths (Christian images too were introduced by missionaries), lions and goats, angels, jins, animals.
“One day, i came across a myth about Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai who used to wear black, about how his poetry would bring all life forms to his Bhitt, so i thought if the images and icons associated with King Solomon could really be experienced and projected it could only be done by our great poets who had this kind of badshahi or influence over all living/dead.
“This painting is a tribute to all the wearers of black, black being the color of faqirs, all-potence, all possibile, all colors, and from Kali Kamli Walay to Kala Mendha Bhays. ‘Kala’ is the color of mulaamat, protest, revolution, lawyers movement, so it is the color of the sadh sangat, as Shah Hussain said,
Bhut paye teri chitti chadar
chungi fakeeraN de bhoori nee
saadh sangat dae ohlay rahnday
budh tinhaaN di suri nee
dil durdaN keeti poori nee”
I saw this painting in Shahid Mirza’s studio in Lahore last year, and was taken by it. Covering one whole wall of that room, it was a silent witness to its own continuity. As well, the totality of the painting captures the essence of my unpublished novel ‘Triple’, and that makes it even more special to me.
The painting is oil in 8 by 4.5 feet.
For more about this painting, email Shahid Mirza at:firstname.lastname@example.org