“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”

–Pablo Picasso

Today we celebrate the birthday of Ismail Gulgee, the renowned painter. Interested in Islamic calligraphy, gestural abstraction, sculptures, and portraits, Gulgee became the recipient of numerous national as well as international awards. Considered to be a gifted portrait-artist, Gulgee’s subjects included US Presidents Jimmy Carter and George Bush Senior, the Shah of Iran, King Hussein of Jordan, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Zulifqar Ali Bhutto and General Ayub Khan. After spending a colourful life, he was murdered along with his wife in 2007.

Over the years, there has been a decline in the demand of various art forms. Calligraphy has now been reduced to mere showpieces resting uncomfortably on the walls of empty drawing-rooms. There is a tremendous gap between the audience and the artist, as people get increasingly apathetic in regards to the power of raw art. Technology has also played a part in this.

In spite of these developments, ‘painting’ remains a very potent form of expression. It reflects the passion and commitment of the artist and attracts the interpretation of the audience. In a world where almost everything can be mimicked by a machine, there is a certain element of human essence in painting. We, as a society, must not lose this essence – remember those who are gone, and nourish those who are yet to come.