Royaat Gallery presents Kaleem Khan’s latest show

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Kaleem Khan’s latest solo show, hosted by Royaat Gallery, presents a kaleidoscope of colour of his native Balochistan. This show is a wonderful celebration of this magical land, a poignant reminder of what we are in danger of losing with the recent attacks on its people. Khan’s images evoke the romance of mankind’s symbiosis with nature—a relationship that seems elusive given the relentless drive of modernity. Not for Kaleem—he remains inspired by this landscape, and is only able to express himself once connected to it.

Khan’s paintings capture the contradictory forces in nature His brush strokes are unflinching, almost evoking the rugged terrain. His mountains have a dark density, underscoring the fragility of mankind that is often seen as nothing more than a speck against their fierce majesty. At the same time, through his use of colour, he casts his mountains in a gauzy light. His latest works also showcase his ability to employ more precise strokes, allowing him to paint water with a beautiful crystalline quality while hinting at its murky depths.

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In addition to the pastoral scenes nestled within craggy valleys, Khan depicts the cinematic drama of his mountains—the horizon and the ground melding into the foreground, so that we no longer can tell where one ends and the other begins. Some of these landscapes show how people have made this unforgiving land their homes, capturing a way of life that may not have changed much in the last century. Khan paints his figures with grace and fluidity—a technique that stands out masterfully in his canvas of thundering horses and their riders. His figures are both poignant, standing alone amid nature, but at the same time, playful, watching over their four-legged friends. Khan also captures the striking Baloch coastline with two boats moored on a desolate beach—their stillness almost in marked contrast to the wave of development that will surely sweep past these shores.

Kaleem Khan is one of Pakistan’s foremost contemporary painters. He trained under the master, Khalid Iqbal, at the National College of Arts in Lahore, graduating in 1982. Influenced by Iqbal’s work on landscape, he returned to Balochistan to paint scenes that may have otherwise remained invisible. Khan’s has exhibited extensively in Pakistan as well as in countries, including: Canada, China, Germany, India, Korea, Oman, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. He is also a recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance Award (2006).

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