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The Brush Speaks

By Faizan Usmani | June 2020

The world is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel, said Horace Walpole, an English art historian. Anwar Maqsood, an acclaimed TV host, playwright and humourist, has the ability to depict the world in both ways. Long before establishing his credentials as a TV writer and satirist, Maqsood had already been an artist. This side of his personality involving his paintings kept evolving with time but did not come to the fore with as much force as the satirist in him did.

In recent days, despite his homour and satire, Anwar Maqsood has not been able to stop the painter of canvases lurking in him from using the two-dimensional surface as a platform to depict the world with all its ups and downs. His latest brushstrokes create an aura with the same sharpness that his witty words have always done. It seems as if his satirical quips have moved into the domain of painting.

Covid-19 is what the painter works at. The deadly virus has made Anwar Maqsood’s imagery more piercing and creates an emotional impact that few artists can manage to cough up in this depressing phase of human history.

The works narrate the world beyond questioning eyes and wandering birds. There is an array of boxed windows and leafless trees under a hanging moon, depicting the feelings of human loneliness. The misery seems to seep into the eyes of Maqsood’s subjects, each telling a different story.

The artist is true to his surroundings, ruled by social distancing constraints and lockdown restrictions. The new paintings from Anwar Maqsood’s brush are worth a closer look - because they portray the times we live in.