Tuesday, September 7, 2010


"Jenab Assi Chhanaa Kenh khabar ye Kaem Chhu Banovmutt.  Jammu kashmir Bunkik Afsar Chhi Yor Iwaan . Timunn Gotss Prutsunn"
" Sir we do not know who has designed it. Some officers from  the Jammu and Kashmir Bank keep coming over here . Better ask them."
  So said the gardeners in Badaam Vaari garden,  Srinagar   when I asked them as to who had designed the beautiful sculpture fountain in the park. This majestic almond shaped sculpture fountain in the shape of word Allah  lies close to the well decorated Warris Khan's Chhaah( deep well ) in  the Badaam Vaari garden in  Srinagar .From friends in  the Jammu and Kashmir  Bank ,  I came to know  about the creator of this beautiful sculpture . I also learnt that  the artistic fountains at Karan Nagar , Babademb and Baba Dharam Dass Temple Chowk( Munawarabaad )  have been designed by this artist only.Enter the world of Masood Hussain  , painter  from the  Kashmir valley ,a trained graphic designer from  the J J School of Arts, Mumbai and equally  trained  by his Guru and well known painter  late G. R . Santosh .
Sometime  back , I  saw some watercolours of  D N Wali  (Almast Kashmiri ) in an Exhibition organized jointly by Cultural Academy and Dr T K Wali ( son of the late artist ). I was delighted to see the beauty and presentation of various facets of Kashmiri life through this medium.  Now that I have seen the entire collection of Masood Hussain titled 'TRANSPARENT STROKES' , I  am  simply amazed to see  these superb watercolours .You can see the birds  , lakes , seasons and landscape  beauty in his watercolours yet implicitly or explicitly he paints  the culture and life of the valley both urban and rural. The paintings representing rural life are sheer nostalgia.The fishermen in their boats ,Dal lake in various colours, Tongas , thatched  roof houses of villagers , autumn colours , shrines  , majestic Chinars , old city or Shahar e Khaas views ,snow capped mountains ,horses , cows  and calves ,men and women in Pherans ,houseboats ,Doongas , Shikaras,  city under snowfall,tourist resorts ,Badaam Vari garden ,Srinagar  in  spring blooms ,Boulevard ,Dubbs of old buildings , houses lined on Jhelum bank ,vegetable sellers in boats  ,garlands of red chillies hung on windows , Chinar leaves being  burnt for Kangri  charcoal ,Mughal gardens and many more views representing Kashmir and Kashmir only.Just view them . It is simply a viewer''s delight . 

Masood Hussain paints beautiful  Kashmir landscapes that are vibrant with colours and images  creating deep nostalgia. Looking at his landscapes, the feeling that 'Simplicity is Beauty' is re-established in our mind. His winter landscapes and rural life landscapes speak loud about the   life in Kashmir. The beauty of snow landscapes turns nostalgic in spite of the  harsh winter season that puts check on normal activity. Another area where he has done remarkable work is installation art. His paintings like ‘Lonely Sharika’ and ‘Exodus’ are works of his  sensitivity . He has also started expressing his creativity through films . 

 His Kashmir Landscapes in particular have played a role in uniting minds of the Kashmiris residing in any corner of the globe at present. The first cry that sprouts out after looking at his Kashmir Landscapes can be summed up in simple five words :" Aha ! That is my dear Kashmir". His series ' Walk with Gandhi ' has also been well received. He was planning to work on Lal Vaakhs . 

In an art exhibition  of Masood Hussain ,  noted artist Manjeet Bawasaid this:-

"In his work there are no flowers , rivers or colours , Yet he portrays the true culture of Kashmir " 



I like the way Masood Hussain uses blue colour. It happens to be his favourite colour .The sky, the oceans, the rivers and lakes that make up most of what we see are blue. It is symbolic of the peacefulness of nature. Many gods, such as Vishnu, Sri Krishna, and Shiva, are depicted  in blue  as it represents calmness and intuition.There are several instances of the word 'neela' in the Upanishads .Blue signifies the vast expanse of space which pervades the universe and in which the Universe has its being.In a way the BRAHMANDA and the Absolute known as BRAHMAN  are drawn in blue  only. This expansive space is enunciated in the Chandogya Upanishad. And blue turned the colour of Shiva as he drank the poison to save the world.

The 'Autumn Colours' especially the majestic Chinars painted by him are simply beautiful . Having worked as faculty  at Institute of Music and Fine Arts  Srinagar Since 1977 where at he trained many  present day young artists from Kashmir , Masood Hussain has mixed painting and sculpture and also explored the use of papier mache and  lattice work  found in old houses in Kashmir .From careful study of his water colours , one can confidentaly say that the artist is a master of  various  techniques  like WASHES AND GLAZES , WET IN WET   and DRY BRUSH .
Born on 15th June, 1953 in an educated family , Masood  Hussain 's father was a doctor who possibly like any other Kashmiri parent would not  have liked his son to be an artist. That has always been so in Kashmiri families where the son would  usually take over the profession of his father.
Water Colour medium of  painting dates back possibly to  Cave Painting' era .Then came the Egyptians who adopted this technique .The Europeans too adopted this style in middle ages  . During Renaissance period many artists used this medium . Many modern and contemporary portrait artists also chose and preferred  this medium. The medium is going to stay longer and has ever expanding  base of  admirers   and users the world over .

 The paintings  of Masood Hussain can be seen in different art  galleries  of  the US and UK .Some can be seen in  the Jammu and Kashmir Bank's Corporate office , Raj Bhawan and with many private collectors  .


                              Beautiful Dal lake done in Blue is just Nostalgic  and refreshing .                               

This Bazar scene below depicting shrines  is a  typical view from the valley  . The architectural beauty  of  shrines and old buildings , vegetable sellers , men in modern dress and Pherans is  appealing in its artistic beauty  and presentation.The expression on the face  of the  man in Pheran is   hope and helplessness.Is he Outsider of Albert Camus ?
                         The life of Hanjis or boatmen depicted  brings back nostalgia  .
Thatched roof huts in villages ,children and garlands of red chillies being dried under autumn sun  create sheer nostalgia.

The 'Autumn Views' done in watercolour are exceptional in style and presentation. Anyone who has seen autumn colours in Kashmir  shall have no choice but to appreciate the work . Naseem Bagh and Shalimar garden's autumnal  grace has been captured with magical  perfection by the artist .

"My sole aim to share my works, is to bring back old memories, bringing all of us together in these troubled times in Kashmir. "Adds Masood Hussain. When I saw above three  Autumn watercolours of Masood Hussain , lines from the poem Raqs e Khizaan ( Dance of Autumn Season  ) immediately came to my mind . I quote the lines as under:-.

Khizaan Raseedaa Nigaar e Bahaar Raqs Mein hai  .
Ajeeb Aalaam e Be Aetibaar Raqs Main hai .
Baras Rahein Hain Darakhaton se Rang Soorat e Barg ,

Tillism Khaana e Lailo Nahaar Raqs mein hai .
Junoon Ne Pairhan e Bargo Baar Utaar diyaa ,
Barahangee hai Ki Deewaanwar Raqs mein hai . 
( Ali Sardar Jafri ) 

'A Peep Out of Past ' a painted relief by Masood Hussain is a  serious creative  work . This relief (uploaded below)  forms the cover of Agha Shahid Ali's Book 'The Country Without a Post Office' . Men, women , children peeping from windows. Innocent faces reflecting hopelessness ,fear, resignation and longing .He conveys pain that has no religion , caste , creed or colour. Even under these grave negative vibrations all around , the artist lives and rises above to convey hope and arrival of a new dawn . There the artist in him meets demands without shirking and demonstrates courage of intellectual conviction .This   relief   depicts a child peeping from the window to see the outer world for he lies trapped in the emptiness and gloom of the world of his room.The child 's face is mystical .Broken pieces of wood joined together for existence and window dressing .Metaphysical in contours and presentation.This is incidentally Masood Hussain favourite  painting.

    Below is a village scene in watercolour by the artist
       The colours used by the artist in the above painting  represent the Autumn season  . A typical view of a village in Kashmir close to hills .Barren trees . Dry leaves on the path. Innocent children in woolens follow some friendly / domesticated poultry birds. The children had possibly joined their mother who had gone out for collection of dry timber pieces for the kitchen . Poverty’s grace and elegance in watercolour . A grace that surpasses material possessions of existence .While the children are happy and playful , the mother carries the load yet keeps strict vigil on their movement . She follows them to look at their safety .

                                                      ( photograph by the blogger  )

Masood Hussain does not merely paint scenic beauty of the valley through his watercolours . As artist, he  is an ambassador of goodwill. He  paints the cultural ethos of Kashmir . An ethos that bears the stamp of traditional harmony that existed amongst the inhabitants .As a sensitive artist , he is touched by the pain and suffering of one and all.  A pain  that has no caste , religion or creed t . His colours are radiant enthusing hope of a happy dawn. May this peace arrive and   be our permanent companion
(Avtar Mota)
( Thanks to the Artist for allowing me to use some paintings from  his collection 'Transparent Strokes  ... )  

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