Recently Art Kaam Gallery, Karachi has arranged an exhibition of paintings by late Masur Aye to share his innovative, symbolic and soft images with Karachiites - a very pleasant way to remember a senior artist through his works. He devoted a life time to the art of painting. Born in 1941 at Delhi, Mansur Aye mostly painted faces not full figures; some of these were realistic while some of his paintings were quite fanciful and modern indicating his imaginative mood.
From the beginning he was fascinated by the youthful and innocent faces. The moon-faced beauties became the hall mark of his work. Mansur also used old cubist abstraction in his paintings. His fascination took him to paint the age of innocence. He used different medium but his forte was portraits and the one subject that surfaced again and again in his paintings is moon-faced girls. All of his paintings depict large eyed women with a touch of innocence.
He was a self-taught artist. His inclination for the arts began early in life as his father was a curator at the National Museum. Over the passage of time he had developed his own distinctive style, consisting of moon-faced girls with the moon in the background, a flower here and there and moonlight showing the atmosphere of peace and tranquility. There was no sign of bitterness or turmoil in his work. Everything was soft and serene.
Mansur's compositions make strong statements mainly on women's life where system or society tends to enslave them and the women lose their individuality and true identity in this degenerated world. He tried to highlight women's light and dark, happy and sad, good and bad moments of life. He believed in expressing what he thinks was abnormal and unsatisfactory to other people rather than keeping silent. He did not want to except the unsuitable behaviour of society towards women and portray fair and normal side of women's life along the grim one.
A big change came into his style in 1971-72 when he introduced rich and varied colours in his work, instead of the old misty and melancholy images. He began painting in radiant and glowing colours with striking decorative patterns that sometimes had the colour vibrations of Op Art. Also instead of blank spaces the whole area was filled with continuous lines arranged in many kinds of patterns.
Mansur Aye had painting works in many styles and mediums. His drawings done in charcoal and some in pen and ink are a proof of his excellent draftsmanship. It is little known that because of his good drawing skills he was able to learn the art of making animated cartoon films. His ad films in 1971 and animated cartoon films of small children's stories for TV in 1989 fascinated the viewers. Mansur Aye was a multi-talented artist; he also tried hand at book illustration and illustrated many children's books.
He also worked in water colour all of his sketches in water colour had an engaging informality and spontaneity. The beauty of the transparent water colour, with its fluidity and fluency was found in every painting. And his paintings have a great range of colours. Mansur had above twenty solo and many group exhibitions to his credit.
A large number of people particularly artists and art-lovers attended the exhibition to pay homage to Mansur Aye. The exhibition showcased many works that were not seen before by the art enthusiasts. The exhibition comprise of paintings in oils and water colours and pen and ink and charcoal drawings of private collectors including Thar, wildlife and women series. (The writer can be reached at email@example.com)