By Sukant Deepak
January 12, 2023 (IANSlife) A painter, poet, filmmaker and fashion designer... but is Muzaffar Ali a 'different' person in these manifestations?
Ali says he is drawn from one medium to another in which he sees his own reflection as an artist, and deeper than that, a human being.
"He is part of a singular journey with many destinations, maqaams. Each creates its very own world," he tells IANS.
Even as his exhibition titled 'Muzaffar Ali', presented by Masha Art and curated by Uma Nair gets set for viewing at Bikaner House (January 11-21) where his creative spheres beyond cinema in the past four decades will be showcased -- select paintings, collages, sketches and designed objects of the 78-year-old Polymath -- it aims to throw light on a variety of mediums that have kept the multifaceted artist busy beyond the world of movies.
"My relationship with sketch pen and brush, crayon and acrylic, and oil is both organic and scientific. All my hazy graduation knowledge of geology, botany, and chemistry creates subtle cerebral bridges of visual grammar," notes Ali, who was born into an erstwhile royal family in Lucknow.
"Today, they reflect my childlike ignorance and inquisitiveness. Yet, they stand out in my art as I celebrate the itch in my hands to draw. With the exhibition following my autobiography, it explains the romance and mysticism of this artistic journey," he adds.
Stressing that out of humanism and aesthetics emerge all the dimensions that he is known for, Ali says he is culturally poetry-inspired and not a poet.
"Fashion is born out of films and production design, and it (fashion) is an aspect of sustainability in rural countryside that has often driven my films. Painting helps me drive all this with ease."
His latest work is a dialogue with time, with his world.
"My leaves that spin and spin before they touch the ground and are swept away -- their geometry and equations in my eyes. A whisper of horses and purring of automobiles that are connected to each other. The geometry expands into landscapes and snowscapes where I would see myself riding or driving. These are wonders of frozen elegies from Karbala seen from the tearful eyes of Hussain's horse. It is here that hearts soften to oppression and tyranny. Rumi has been an inspiration for a poetry-driven person. He drove me to struggle through Persian to reach the soul of its music and mysteries. He became almost a film with real characters in flesh and blood. Yet, still, a long way to go as I am a traveler who meanders strangely through the journey."
Talking about his latest exhibition, he says the pandemic-induced lockdown, as severe as it was, took him closer to himself and his art. It also allowed him to find his lost world which always existed deep within him.
"Today people are lost in the outside world and by the time they realise it, the way is lost. Uttar Pradesh and the rest of the country have inspired me deeply with what I can do with their two hands and how I can add my painter's poetics into it without overwhelming their organic style. Craft is an unending passion for me. A way to change the world."
The autobiography, 'Zikr: In the Light and Shade of Time' is all about when and where, who, and what made him.
"It is an expression of gratitude to the history of the world I live in. It is also a silent tribute to those who I could not include in the narrative," he concludes.
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