Islamabad - The permanent display of Mansur Rahi’s retrospective work is serving the coming generation of artists and visitors as a source of attraction here at National Art Gallery.

The retrospective that covers the period starting from 1957 portraying the paintings and drawings that depict abstraction yet the visual imagery remains representational, which marks another difference between his early work in Karachi and his later work in Islamabad.

Such dissimilarities are amalgamated through an essence of cubism that runs through his entire body of work, creating interplay of opposites. Cubism was a major and highly significant 20th Century art movement pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture.

It is no coincidence that when Mansur Rahi, during his academic period in 1959, used blocks of colour rendered in an unambiguous manner to constitute the face of the subject in portrait study. A hypothesis that proved to be correct, considering 50 years have passed and the same blocks are still strongly evident in his work.

In the present exhibition Rahi’s work display a merge between his previous style of cubism with new simplified intuitive strokes that flow continuously and freely from end to end, revealing human and animal forms that have been broken up, analysed and re-assembled in an abstract form.

These additional spontaneous and long strokes provide the abstract forms with a strong dynamic element and give the illusion of the subject to be in motion.

In Rahi’s work, the subject is easily perceived; therefore the intellectual process begins after its recognition, unless his intention is based on a purely visual aesthetic in which case the cerebral is rejected in favour of the physical.

The later phase of Rahi’s career began in 1983 when he changed his residence from Karachi to Islamabad.

He describes this period as rather peaceful and therefore his art shifts from a portrayal of struggle to one of peace as mountains, beauty and romance began to be depicted in his work.

Talking to APP, Director Visual Arts, PNCA Mussarat Naheed Imam said the National Art Gallery is proud to have such collection, as it is also a great source of teaching and guiding the coming generations of painters to know about the masterly skills of painting.

She said the NAG protects the collection of all the displays from the climatic change and wants to promote the value of this national treasure at global level.