Islamabad - An exhibition of more than 20 artworks by Farah Babar and a presentation on Rapu Jado (metal embossing) was organised by the Asian Study Group (ASG) at Kuch Khaas Gallery on Monday.

Rapu Jado is an art form that dates back to at least the 12th Century. Known as Repujhado in Spanish and Repousse in French, it is the craft of pushing, working or making relief work (three dimensional) in metal to give it an extraordinary embossed look.

The embossing imparts lustre, radiance, fascinating dimensions and texture. A variety of intriguing tools are used to push the flat metal sheeting from the back creating unique raised designs.

Babar, basically an educationist, learnt this art in six months during her stay in Mexico. Employing Mughal, Persian and Asian designs in her art pieces, Babar has assimilated Rapu Jado with her own culture and art forms. Venturing into calligraphy, using precious stones and combining wood and metal work have given new scopes to this exclusive form of art.

“I try to learn new things. I love doing calligraphy and when I learnt Rapu Jado I did it in a different way. Incorporating a fusion of east and west I took it into a different dimension,” remarked Babar.

Metal of any sort can be enhanced, embossed and edged but Babar uses pewter (an alloy of silver). Pewter comes in raw sheet form which is drawn either freehand or using a design. She does her work by hand with special tools and has made more than 2,000 pieces.

Though artwork handicraft on metal plates, vases and other items has been prevalent since ancient times but the adaptation of old heritage in the modern times with the latest tools and variety of materials has introduced a different taste in this field of art which has found place in different countries.

Her current collection includes precise and nice coloured abstract art pieces encapsulated by wood crafted frames as well as calligraphies in Thuluth and Kufic scripts with embedded pieces of local semi-precious stones of turquoise, agate and rubies. In addition to mirrors with hand-carved frames in abstract, Persian, floral and Mughal designs, vases in African designs, wooden trays in pewter embossing and small adorable showpieces are offering a touch of versatility to her collection.

The artist has been able to maintain the symmetry of designs despite integrating various techniques in each art piece whether it is in local pattern or Aztec or Mayan. Her use of stain glass paint on pewter is also an indication of indigenous and exclusive use of this technique.

The artworks of Babar have been gifted, as a gesture of love and thanks, through the good office of former president of Pakistan to various prominent personalities which is itself a token of acknowledgement of the ability of Babar and a tribute to the excellence of her works.

“It’s a fabulous work. It is so intricate that it takes months to produce a single art piece. There may be artists doing it but I haven’t seen such a fine work that Farah has done,” remarked Parveen Malik, president of ASG.