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Dirafsh-e Kāviyānī (Kaveh's Banner) درفش کاویانی

Thu–Fri, December 16–17, 2021 | 3:00 PM | Top Floor, Academic Block, LUMS

درفش کاویانی

Dirafsh-e Kāviyānī (Kaveh's Banner) — An Exhibition of Paintings by Fazil Hussain Mousavi

The exhibition was titled Dirafsh-e Kaviyani (Kaveh’s Banner): Defiance Redefined Through Shahnameh and Later Poetry. It was curated by Nadhra Shahbaz Khan, Fatima Fayyaz and Shahabdullah Alamee and was inaugurated by the guest speaker, Professor Suroosh Irfani—author, translator and expert on Jungian Psychology.

Fazil Hussain Mousavi Exhibition Catalog
Download PDF • 1.42MB

About the Artist

Fazil Hussain Mousavi studied art at the University of Balochistan, Quetta, and started his art teaching career at the Beaconhouse School System, Quetta in 1989. In 1992, Mousavi joined the city’s Iqra Army Public School and College and served until 2008. One of his memorable contributions to the institution is the logo design for the APSACS (Army Public School and College System Secretariat) still in use. The city of Quetta proudly hosts several of his commissioned artworks. These include two large fiberglass relief panels at the National Bank of Pakistan’s head office, designed in collaboration with Ramzan Shad, ten sculptural forms for the School of Infantry and Tactics (1996), and a relief panel in terracotta tiles for the Command and Staff College (2001).

Mousavi’s first solo show was at The Gallery in 1992 (the Zwanenburg’s Quetta residence) and the first international show was in 2007 at the Museum Willem van Haren, Holland. From 2003 to 2006, he curated shows and conducted workshops for art teachers on a voluntary basis. These efforts culminated in an informal art set-up named the Sketch Club Quetta in 2008. He now divides his time between the Sketch Club and his own paintings.

Mousavi’s Shahnameh’s recital at the 2019 Sharjah Biennale made him the first-ever member of the Hazara community to perform at a such a forum. Among his other achievements is the group show that featured his own and the Sketch Club students’ artworks at the Human Rights Festival 2020, Oxford Brookes University, UK.

About the Guest Speaker

Professor Suroosh Irfani completed his higher education at the Shiraz University. In 1998 he joined the National College of Arts, Lahore as an Associate Professor of Communication and Cultural Studies where he served as the founding editor of Sohbet: Journal of Contemporary Arts and Culture. As a Visiting Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, he worked on the archetypal motifs in the writings of Shahrnush Parsipur, an iconic figure of post-revolutionary literature in Iran. Professor Irfani is the author of Taza Nawa’i Mu’arek (New Songs from the Battlefields), a Persian to English translation of a 19th century text by Munshi Atta Muhammad Shikarpuri. His interests lie in the Jungian depth psychology, Sufism, literature, and the notion of the divine feminine.

FF- How and when did you start your artistic journey?

FHM- All I can remember is that I used to trace pictures; sometimes I used a tracing sheet and at other times I just followed the outlines of images I found in books and newspapers lying around in the house. This was long before I joined school. My formal training probably started during my primary education and I continued to doodle and draw until I was in high school. One day while I was immersed in my world of drawing, my elder brother ridiculed me for wasting my time and energy pursuing a useless activity. His comments hit me so badly that I gave up drawing for quite some time convinced that it was a waste of time. It was only because of a feeling of emancipation during my early college days that I dared to pick up a paper and pencil thinking I finally had the liberty to pursue my passion. After completing my intermediate studies it dawned on me that fine arts was a field of studies and there were formal educational institutions dedicated to it. Since there was no such department in Quetta, I joined the Arts Council—a space that proved to be an oasis for my long suffered thirst for exploring the world of art. Soon afterwards, my parent’s decision about my marriage foiled my plans of joining the National College of Arts in Lahore, something that still haunts me. Subsequent years brought forth children and increased responsibilities leaving no time for indulging in art practices. Once I learnt that the department of fine arts was being established at the University of Balochistan, I could not hold myself back any more. As my son started his school, I got enrolled at this institution. Thus began my journey of formal art education. I still remember how difficult those days were. As the sole bread earner, I had to work extra hours on odd jobs to make ends meet; tuitions or small commissions for artworks, whatever I could manage to supplement my meagre income. I finally graduated and started my career as an art teacher at the Beaconhouse School. A few years later I moved to the Iqra Army Public School, where I continued to work for the next seventeen years.

FF- Please tell us about the mission and vision of the Sketch Club you have established in Quetta

FF- You paint in a style uniquely your own; some special themes and a peculiar repetitive use of a few motifs. Could you please share your artistic, technical and philosophical explorations that led your way and have brought you where you are today?

FF- You have talked about the connection between your paintings and your deep interest in different forms of literature. Could you please shed some light on the Shahnameh and the frequent appearance of symbols we see in your paintings derived from this epic poem, especially Kaveh’s banner, the title of this exhibition. In what ways has the Shahnameh affected your intellect, personality and artistic expression?

FF- Please tell us about the special tradition of Shahnameh-khwānī or reciting the Shahnameh that has come down to you through your father.


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