Tribute to mother through camera lens


With subtle yet candid clicks, Muhammad Azhar Hafeez on Monday launched his 48-piece photography exhibition, ‘In Memory of My Loving Mother’, portraying the social and cultural aspects of life, and naturally intriguing beauty of various cities at Nomad Gallery.
While a few critics at the preview of Hafeez’s solo photography exhibition were of the opinion that the artist had taken undue favour from technology using Adobe Photoshop, while others termed the collection and artist as the ‘Wordsworth of photography’ because of the scenic depiction of natural beauty which he dedicated to his mother.
Hafeez Sheikh captured images that expressed the strength and vulnerability of the struggling people of Swat, Kail Valley, Tao Butt Valley, Kashmir and River Neelum. The images also featured Islamabad’s Rawal Lake, Faisal Mosque, Golra railway station, Siberian tigers and other animals. He has also captured nature beautifully, as well as the architecture of the walled city in Lahore.
The photographs carry viewers across a spectrum, from faces to places and from nature to architecture. In his photography, Sheikh has tried to catch the strength and the vulnerability of the human spirit, the beauty of nature and the play of light on form.
While photography captures the fleeting moment, it also preserves it forever so a snapshot of today is the historical document of tomorrow. One could say after watching the cache of photographs that photography is like recording history.
With the over 35 years experience, Hafeez is also working at Pakistan Television as a graphic designer and has captured various shades of life such as the facial expressions of old men and minors alike as well as the cattle show, and the beauty of animals. His work depicts life in various cities and its remote areas and its suburbs.
Through his photographs he has shown parts of the city that normally remain unnoticed by many. The essence of his photographs lies in the sensitivity with which he seems to have captured these shades. His photos show various aspects of the Swat city that has a reputation of being the cultural hub of the country but is recently struggling to smile again in recent years. Born in Lahore and a graduate of National College of Arts, Lahore, Hafeez has travelled across the country in quest of his thirst for making a moment in history that could not be forsaken.
Hafeez told Pakistan Today that photography was his passion and one of his favourite pastimes. “My present exhibition is the continuation of my work which represents Pakistan’s people and landscape of various areas. These photographs portray selections of my recent travels to various parts of my country, particularly Kashmir Valley,” he said.
The artist said while visiting the post-war Swat region and other places to provide his viewers with visual updates, “All I have tried with my camera is to show Pakistan at its best, and represent its people and landscape in harmony which is not tarnished by chaos and disorder. These photographs probably convey the utmost sincerity of my cause to the viewers,” Hafeez maintained.
The artist, who has participated in a number of photographic exhibitions across the country, said photography was an art which not only required light but also patience, adding that at times he had to wait long for a single click. “I have learnt photography by studying nature, that is why I have dedicated this art to my beloved mother who passed away recently,” he concluded.
Nomad Gallery Director Nageen Hyat said Hafeez’s art provided a new perspective on life and art, forcing the viewer to realise the extent to which photography has influenced our culture, and lifestyle, helping spread awareness of our cultural identity to people of other cultures and connecting us to the modern world. “The play of light reflects ethereal images and stories untold,” she said.
When asked why Hafeez was invited to put up his work so often, obstructing the way for new artists, Hyat said Nomad Gallery was perhaps the only art centre in the federal capital that did not discriminate between artists and gave opportunity to budding and veteran artists alike. “hafeez’s work is technically very strong and he had to wait 16 years to get his work mature enough to exhibit in Nomad Gallery.” Azhar Hafeez’s fourth solo photographic exhibition will continue at Nomad Gallery, F-6/1, till September 13.

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