Art Scene
Wahab Jaffer: Life Lines
By Fatima S. Khan

Wahab Jaffer clearly portrays the struggle of women in a socio-economic climate, the saga that repeats itself from the beginning of time. He strongly highlights the important and influential role women have played in history portraying them as role models for the present-day woman who faces crises in everyday life.
With exceptional talent and imagination, he displays the opulent headgears that conjure glamorized images of historical figureheads like Cleopatra, Queen of England, women in Greek mythology with elaborate medusa perched on their head and several others in a portrait. A reminder no doubt that women of diverse cultures can lead; the constant attention to the elaborate headgears is an indication of women in power using their intelligence as a means to an end.
The struggle of ordinary women on the other hand, burdened with headgears that explode in complete frenzy, fragmented, disoriented with flames of fire; fire being a symbol of hell.
His great optimism persuades him to crown the fire of hell with dreams of peace. He skillfully frames the white doves, a symbol of peace and serenity within the chaotic conundrum and bleakness, strongly suggesting that even in depravity there is uplifting and redemption.
His dramatic use of color and bold images are relentless expressions, haunting the thoughts of viewers. They are a profound voice of the oppressed yet are challenged to find their own light. He takes risks with forms to imply individual suffering and transcendence by collapsing boundaries and distorting traditional figuration to near abstraction. Cubism and Abstract forms were mainly his art form expressions during the early seventies and eighties. This exhibition was appropriately called “Passion II”.
Images from the “Passion II” collection are painstaking composition of nightmarish quality, imprisoned in the mute contraptions, the message is luminous, precise protraying the inner realm of thoughts and feelings. He nonetheless paints a vivid portrait .
The head is a concoction of chaos, however the facial expressions balance the chaotic into control, rising to the great nobility of feeling and expression. She is forlorn but does not quite despair, she looks imploringly, she is not a goddess but a woman, the mother of mankind.
The art is overwhelmingly spectacular in size and the impressive use of brilliant forays in acrylic, richness to detail and the harmony of the arrangement bringing the message to life, and the viewer forms an intimate connection to the human drama; surrendering to its carefully concocted spills.
Art is one of the means by which human beings make sense of the world and through which they are striving to change reality. The need to translate experience, knowledge and desire into concrete imagery is not a whim or a fancy; it is part of human consciousness leaving a galvanizing impact.
Wahab Jaffer’s post-heart surgery collection called “Life Lines” done in black and white are consumed with faces of passive women, however the mental distress takes a form of complicated, interlocking of patterns. Some animal prints, in shapes of ferocious stormy movement, topping this image once again, there are quintessential symbols of doves and fishes, which signify peace and tranquility culminating all into a seamless montage. He translates the socio-political issues into images; the close link of his realm to sense and perceive, immediate impressions and emotions
Wahab Jaffer grasps the profoundest values, embracing human issues and transmitting wholly definite presentation of imagery that of objective experience. Here the purpose is the “voices of women need to be heard”.
Through a particularly developed aesthetic sense, he decodes social issues and transforms them into images. Women have rights of expression is resonant in each of his artwork, not merely a women but a thought-provoking image, sulime thought at times celebrating the grandiosity of womanhood and other times deploring the restrictive freedom of expression.
The fissures and the cracks of the images have laboriously patented myths and archetype compressed in a woman’s psyche from the earliest of time.
The relationship between an artist and his subject is complex, artist is a conduit of anamolies and metaphors, engaging the viewer to surrender to a series of images that encompass intelligence and thought-provoking issues. In addition, Wahab Jaffer is giving a voice to the plight of women and playing immediacy of their losses and sufferings against the panorama of socio-political and econimic struggles.
Wahab Jaffer’s most recent exhibition was held at the Canvas Gallery in Clifton Karachi called Passion II and prior to that the most stunning works called “Life Lines” was also held in Karachi at the Goethe Institute. Wahab Jaffer is amongst the most notable artists in Pakistan. He has made a tremendous transition from Cubism to Realism; his earlier works did seem to have the twentieth centruy influence of artists like Picasso and Braque, however his present works are definitely his inner voice of the present.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.