13 Jan to 13 Feb, 2023
11am - 8pm
Sublime Galleria, 8th Floor, Vittal Mallya Road, Bangalore – 560 001
Badrunnisa Irfan is no stranger to Sublime and this is her second showing at the galleria after her successful debut a few months ago. The selection of paintings on display this time round impresses one once again with its unvarnished honesty and direct appeal.
The Socratic truism that the more one knows, the more one knows how little one knows, is evident in all of Badrunnisa’s works. This probably stems from her being an avid reader, whose bibliographic horizon is as broad as it is deep. But, then again,
her art is less about knowledge and more about faith. The bedrock as well as the energy that animates her paintings is her abiding faith in the Almighty. She regards herself as an amanuensis of God, merely an instrument, a brush if you will, which is controlled by His will. Allah is the creator, she says, and that she is merely giving expression to what he has created.
This deep faith imbues her work with a profound spirituality. Even as the scenes she depicts may seem quotidian, prima facie, deeper inspection reveal layers of meaning that are rich and profound.
Her choice of colours, for example, are bright and effervescent. Never muted or subdued. Her strokes are bold and sure. They speak of a positivity and a certainty of happiness, a confidence in one’s Maker.
Her choice of subject is equally revealing, drawing as it does from the Quran, in which Allah says, “If you want to see me and feel my existence then look at nature. Look at the things I have created.” Centred on the kaleidoscopic images of nature, her paintings are suffused with vitality and throb with life and energy. They make no pretence of esotericism or stylistic innovation or intellectual complexity. They make no attempt to offer existential commentary,
as some critics may expect them to. Yet, her paintings are neither weak nor plain or lacking in individuality. On the contrary, they tell of an imagination that transcends the realm of storytelling and occupies a niche of its own, which speaks without artifice directly to the soul. They choose to celebrate Nature and life as manifestations of the divine and glorify their immeasurable greatness. They exude a raw power that communicates to the viewer with a directness that stirs him to an instinctive and involuntary response, as all great art does.
Badrunnisa says she usually sits in her garden and paints. Immersing herself thus in the beauty of creation inspires her brush with renewed vigour. She is also an animal lover with the horse being a particular favourite, which will explain the equine themes that run through many of her paintings. her creative horizon is quite colossal by following the path of the Romanticists and exploring heroic themes that touch upon the glory of war as reflected in
the manly soldier and the raw virility of the ocean as manifest in the dashing buccaneer.
Another debt she acknowledges is to her mother, from whom she says she inherited her artistic talent and her perfectionist attitude. The latter is manifestly evident in the remarkably minute attention to detail that distinguishes her work, though she is the first to admit that nothing on her canvas can compare to the real glory of God’s work.
Badrunnisa’s art is thus an expression of humility and a recognition of the immanence of the divine to which all creation is subservient and indebted.