Woodcuts in Colour: Mahboob Ali in Lahore
Today, I was delighted to receive and email from a Pakistani artist Mahboob Ali with a few images of his work. Mahboob Ali, is perhaps the only artist who has devoted his entire career to woodcut – an ancient technique of printmaking.
A native Lahore-ite, and a graduate of the National College of Arts, he has not gained imense recognition at home and abroad. In his own words, “this medium is very difficult, laborious and requires patience.” However, Mahboob Ali has given new dimensions to his craft by increasing the number of colours [here] used printmaking to over 50 now. He carves and paints without the use of machines.
His labour of love has popularised this medium in Pakistan now. But his real forte, in my opinion is recording the rich heritage of Lahore’s walled city, otherwise a dying space of cultural history. Old Lahore lives within his work and interacts with modernity creating a dreamy ambience. Mahboob says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have made the culture heritage of Lahore, as exemplified in its gates and streets, my theme. An attempt has been made to capture the dramatic effects of changing light which reflect both hope and despair at different times.”
Perhaps he best describes the impact of the Lahore moods: The architecture, street scenes and the dramatic effect of changing light are constant source of inspiration for me maintaining dramatic effects of light and style associated with my previous work.” Of late he has started dabbling in spiritual themes – mostly calligraphy.