By Amna Arif
“Javīd Nama for Jimmy is a conceptual nucleus around Which the poetic metaphors flower”, well-known art critic Hameed Zaman stated in art critic and writer Marjorie Hussain’s book “ In Search of My Master”.
A few people in history have been able to leave significant influence on Pakistani art as Jimmy Engineer did. His paintings stand a testament of his ability and their underlying themes are inspiration for generations to come. Focusing on different aspects of Pakistani culture, his masterpieces depict a purpose. He projected a positive image of the country to the outside world, aiming to rectify the notorious impression that had been generated. He is a true socialist as well as a researcher with a genuine concern for correctness and precision. He believes to work for a cause, his every stroke of paint moves with a purpose. He isa simple person and prefers to be known as a mortal who raises voice for the welfare of a human kingdom with sparking energy and passion. He targets communities that others would hardly botherand due to this multifaceted nature, he got fame in different forums. He is a man of expressions that utter peace, humanity, morals and hope. His colors and drawings are revolutionary in spirit depicting patience as well as frustration. His work on freedom movement is well displayed and mentioned till yet. He is a versatile artist who paints life, abstracts, calligraphy and history.
Jimmy Engineer was born in 1954 in Loralai, Balochistan, Pakistan. His Parsi family could not have known then that he would grow up to break all barriers of caste and creed and truly define multi-ethnicity through his art and altruism.His life story makes a fascinating reading. He is the youngest of three children.He was given a few months to live at age of 6 years when both his kidneys failed but he fought bravely against this and recovered himself within three months. Jimmy completed his schooling from St. Anthony’s High School, Lahore, and after a brief interlude at the Forman Christian College, he spent the next three years at the National College of Arts (NCA), expanding his creative powers. It was in 1976 that he turned into a professional painter but his achievements went much beyond his artist’s creativity where he discovered a deep love for all his fellow beings, especially for the downtrodden. He is blessed with teacherslike Khalid Iqbal and Colin David.He is one of the contemporary artist of Pakistan. He is among the luckiest people who got love of their family. His daughter consider him a Hero and said ,” My father taught me the meaning of love I could never understand what pain and suffering felt like ,what it really meant he has unimaginable will power which run out of words to explain”. He has a rare ability to communicate with people from all walks of life.He has more than 2,000 paintings and 1,000 calligraphies of his work exhibited in major art galleries in over 50 countries.Even he was never completing his fourth year in college he converted a garage into studio where he execute paint and exhibit his work. .His parent and siblings are settled in the US but Jimmy has no desire to leave his country .He believes in country love
“I needed to experience what I believed was happening to mankind, when I returned I realized that the country needed more human beings not more artists.” said Jimmy Engineer
.Having suffered `vivid dreams of the India-Pakistan partition’ in his childhood, this 59-year-old artist has articulatedvisions in paintings called the ‘Partition’ series. Jimmy, who designed the stamp to commemorate the Indonesia-Pakistan Economic Cultural Cooperation (IPECC) in 1991, is a recipient of many awards, including the Sitāra-i-Imtiāz (Star of Excellence) for art by the government of Pakistan. He walked more than 4,000 kilometers across Pakistan in 1994 to go from village to village, hamlet to hamlet and town to town to interact with people and know their problems first hand .America offered him residency at the D’jeerarri Foundation of Painting .He travelled throughout the state visiting hundred of museum and galleries.As one of the finest artist of Pakistan he provided soloexhibitions based on conceptual belief and significance feature in the art field. His exhibition offeredmotivationandhappiness to society. His Ideology of Peace is based on 33 paintings on architectural composition of Pakistan, India, China, Egypt, Middle East &countries of central Asia. His composed ,synchronized and remarkable art work presentedat the Consulate General of Pakistan Dubai UAE December 30, 2008. An excellent solo exhibition Ideology of hope Organized by South Asian Gallery of Art Ontario Canada inDecember 13 , 2008. He gave idea about contrast in his exhibition Cultural Harmony between People of Pakistan and Thailand. As a man of art, his marvelous achievements are seen in different galleries and exhibition
Some very well-known writerswrote books on his life and put light on his work .some of books are:
Contemporary painting in Pakistanby Marcella NesomSirhandi.The big picture – Six Decades of Painting in Pakistan by TauqīrMuhājir and Muniza Agha-Fawād.Art views – encounter with artists in Pakistanby Marjorie Husain.In search of My Master – Jimmy Engineer by Marjorie Husain
Jimmy Engineer has received several awards for his achievements since 1976. He is probably the youngest artist to get such success. He was awarded with All-Punjab Cultural Award in 1976 and 1978 and got a Gold Medal in nation-wide Islamic Exhibition in 1978. He got best performance award in the Fine Arts by the Literary Society of Pakistan(Bazm-i-Shuca-i-Adab) in 1978 and 1979. he was awarded in National Exhibition and by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 1981. He got awards from International Cosmopolitan Rotary Club and by the Human Rights Society of Pakistan and blessed with Life time Achievement Award for Humanitarian Services.He got The National Award for Minorities in the Fine Arts in 1983. Waqar-i-Adab, a literary association, presented him with life time achievement for social work in 2002.
Impressions and Features
Jimmy’s speaking impressions which have the power to move young minds and imbue them with a renewed sense of dedication for the country, have been exhibited extensively in Pakistan as well as abroad.His works have never failed to captivate successive generations of art lovers in Pakistan and abroad. He is a Pakistan artist with a penchant for social work .Jimmy has undertaken over 150 campaigns to promoteawareness for special and handicapped children and for orphans .He has a special place in his heart for special children.
As an accessory to his social work that came to sit his focal point of his life, Jimmy also talk of his fascination by all religious. Even though we are separated by cast ,creed, andreligious at birth when it comes to helping our fellow being this criteria has to be overlooked and everybody under the privileged must be treated equal.
“I met jimmy in Lahore and asked him how the artist in himselfhad awakened .He said at the early age of three, he had been interested in fusion and colours. He stared painting with his fingers instead of brush and used color crayon powder mixed with water to paint. He won 1st prize at the age of sixteen.”saidNajmā ZulfiqarcAli.
Jimmy Engineer is a multi-layered artist. His art is not confined to images on canvas as his canvas extends far beyond all that is material. He prefers to be acknowledged as a simple mortal who cares for the human kingdom with a passion. That passion has been waging a war within him for over twenty five years, alternately translating into colored imagery or humane deeds to support miserable souls.
Vast variety of impressionism we see in his work. He use different medium for his art piece still life painting, portrait, landscape,religious, philosophical painting. He does oil painting on different material such as wood chip board, hard board on large scale.A totally dedicated he artist hope to further the awareness of art as a medium of expression and impression .He feels that art can flourish only if it is promoted by the right kind of people. He hopes one day to paint the struggle and triumph of different nations and cultures preserving and reacting of the word on canvas . The vision of the poet is so rich and his imagination so sharp that Jimmy feel it was relatively easy to transforms it into lines and tins form pottery to painting .Jimmy Engineer followed his liking to find outsignificant buildings around the world. Exploring the temples, towers, palaces and monuments of ancient times, consideringinspiration of creating a freedom to control them all together, predict a world whichwas completepatience.”My aim is not to commercialize art but to help spread an awareness to help mankind”, says Jimmy Engineer
His art pieces depict expressions of truth and his image speaks. He has explored and introduced numerous textures in his works and the amazing versatility is more than evident in his creations. Hiswork merges all cultures for the common good of his soil. Partition series is one of impressive series of painting in which he depicts the partition ofIndia1947 .Facts of painting illustrate unsettlement,restlessness,domination,agitation where literally hundreds of figures are visible, all caught up in a violent, heart breaking migration across a nation with religious argument.All the paintings show the huge masses of the refugees moving through the wilderness on their way to Pakistan. The composition of all these big murals is roughly the same. They are not close-up studies of group of figures but broad panoramic views in which the figures are seen from a distance and set in a landscape,complete with horizon and a broad band of sky and big tree.
Figure. 1: Resting Under a Tree in 1947
InRefugees Resting Under a Tree in 1947,’ a 7ft by 5ft canvas painted in 1977, the eye must first take in the throng of humanity in motion, each section offering its own small tableau. First look at the old man being pulled to his feet by a father with a child on his shoulders, the woman clutching her son, eyes dilated in fright, the wounded man borne in the arms of another, the man driving his cart determinedly through the crowd. The painting, past this swatch of land thick with suffering people, to the shadows of thousands more walking behindwhere an overburdened train rumbles along the rails, the men dangling from its roof, determined to join the thousands already clinging to every surface.. He composed this densely packed milling crowd of humanity into coherent and articulate picture to required much skill of which the artist has given adequate proof.Apart from perspective,trees are generally rather poorly painted, except in one case in which a small group of refugees is shown as having arrived in Pakistan. It is nothing but a huge stain of greenish brown colour which has nothing tree-like except the jagged edges and some hanging roots. The enormous patch of colour which almost fills the whole sky above the crowd of men and women has not the slightest likeness to the foliage of tree. It is just one huge blot of greenish brown colour through which light filters here and there.He deserve credits for showing such a huge scene of human interruption . The eye cannot hope to take it all in, in a single glance or even several. Jimmy’s paintings contain entire worlds.
Figure. 2Painful past: Painting on the Partition
The last painting in the series, begun in 2009, remains unfinished – half drawn figures locked in conflict, dissolving into a sea of red.Flag of independence 1947,The last burning train of 1947,The struggle for independence, Memories of 1947 partition of India these all one of the greatest painting of partition series . Later Jimmy turned his eyes to several new subjects, bringing the same incredible detail to paint inanimate things, specifically his stunning Architecture series. Here he picked up iconic buildings from all over the world and put them into one canvas, creating perfectly beautiful mythical cities. The buildings are accurately reconstructed on paper, right down the rows of bricks and the placement of the windows. Some of these focus exclusively on classic Pakistani architecture, others suggest more radical blend and bringing together the mausoleum of SultanBalban from India, the funeral complex of the Kalhora and Tālpur from Pakistan and pairing them with the temple of Angkor from Cambodia. In some paintings over a dozen dislocated structures share the same space. Creating the pieces was a matter of getting the balance perfectly right. No single building dominated a piece, instead they existed in harmony, an allegory of multiculturalism set in stone.
Jimmy’s fierce love for his native land is immortalized in his work. He enlightened his paintingwith feeling of love,emotion, harmony andcombine all buildingstogether which depict artisticvisual of his painting.
Figure.3 Pakistani architecture
Architectural painting most importantly removes barriers and make the meeting place useful and attractive. In Jimmy Engineer ‘sarchitecturepaintings, expressions like balance ,rhythm , composition, conceptual thoughts behind the painting depict the feeling of the artist. Work, color, scheme and shadow light of painting enhance the magnificence of painting. Inside Pakistani architecture he executed collage buildingi.e:MosqueWazīr Khan, Mere Weather Memorial Tower, Lohāri Gate ,Minār of Bādshāhi Mosque,Minār of Muslim Mosque,theChauburji Gateway,Municipal Corporation building, tomb of Mir Masoom Shah Sindh. He painted many masterpieces but personally I like his paintings of Haram Sharif Khāna-iKaba, Old Fort of Pakistan, multiple composition of tomb , Architectural composition as well as international architectural composition.
One ambition undertaking was to convey the philosophyof cAlāmaIqbāl”JavīdNāmah”through a mural ,symbolizing the journey of the poet through the solar system accompanied by MulānaRūmi.His collection of work include miniature and self-portraits, many of which are in private collection in Italy, France ,Switzerland ,Russia, India,China ,England,USA. Infact almost in every part of the world .‘JavīdNāmah’,shows colour and series of Pakistan Movement, highlighting Muslims migration to their new motherland. He collects appreciation both nationally and internationally as an imaginative creative artist. He showscollage of all major matters and characterize all civilizations. All feature and situation of key element like position of priest,dancing girls, Goddess figures and arrangement of decorative pots fine settled on canvas.Give peace a chance: is a wonderful painting by Jimmy Engineer. This painting show emotion and feeling and need chance for peace . Color of painting show expression and mood of painting .This is one of the private collection of Jimmy Engineer.
Landscape painting by Jimmy show love for his country .The power and beauty of nature have inspired artists throughout history. At an early age, Jimmy Engineer discovered the natural world as a source of stimulus and in his paintings he expressed his exhilaration of the wonders around him, none greater than the moods of the sea.
Some of his landscape masterpieces are boats by the sea side (oil on canvas 5 feet * 3feet inches 1986), the wave(oil on canvas 5 feet *3feet 1991) , boats by river side (oil canvas 2 feet * 1feet 6 inches 1986), fisher men with boat (oil canvas 3feet*2feet 1987), Hut by the sea(2 feet * 1feet 6 inches 1986)and moon light (oil canvas 1 feet* 8 inches 1985).
Jimmy Engineer is well aware of anatomy of drawing. For him drawing is like creating a significant motion with the improvement of stability. His pencil sketches are very impressive and detailed and his clarity of pencil enhance the beauty of objects which look so real.
His miniature work is amazingly tremendous and influential. His oil based painting ofShāhjahān in his court is a 5 feet * 3feet 6 inches painting.he used amazing colors that depict the time period of the Mughals. He painted their jewelry,dressing,features, expressions veryaesthetically.
His abstract work has its own significance. hiscreativities like sun- set,colour of heaven,seeing through,colour of life,field in colour,my palette,helpless man have left great impact on art history.
His desire for social servicenever detracts him from his artistic performance. His art work acclaimed nationally as well as internationally. His pioneering effort is intended to capture the imagination of successive generation of Pakistan for sacrifice and dedication.Jimmy used his artistic talent to collect charity for different causes. One hundred of his calligraphy paintingsdonated to APPNA to benefit Kashmir funds.Jimmy, who has been to Sri Lanka eight times, says he was last here in 2004 when he organized‘Fun and Food’ events for an estimated 700 children at five star hotels across the island country . He is a man who walked a great deal – raising awareness for anti-child labour laws, cancer prevention and promoting peace between India and Pakistan. (in 1994 his personal record estimated that he walked 4,500 km in that year alone.) He is generous with his signed prints and used to donate entire sets to deserving institutions.
The art of vision isto explore what is invisible to others and Jimmy Engineer is a seeker of reality. His factual work of paintings show shadows of the divine perfection uttering stories by their own selves. He is a man who painted his mind with the brain not with the hand .His style of painting show formal qualities and every work of him has its own style that looks differentfrom other. By studying him I found a pure feeling of dedication, affectionof faith,sensation of love and value of unity in myself . While calling him for first time I was confused about Jimmy’s work but after talking to him I found him the most assured and contented person with his work, whose beliefs are more stronger and made me determined for what I am doing in art history .During our phonic conversations he said to me ,” I am no more active in this field as my hairs getting grey day by day but I want my generations to continue my work aiming to define social causes by art.” He is a concerned person for his society.He is well aware how to portrait a perception of nature through the mask of the soul. During my research, I went through manyart magazines, scholarly books and internet links. All I found is very less to elaborate his depth of soul and sacrifices for art world .His exhibitions portray aesthetics and wonders of our country to other continents.According to my review his composition ofeach line, color, stroke, volume, modeling, proportion has conveyed his personal interpretation. He made me realized that life without purpose is useless. I want to close my reviews about Jimmy by saying that ” his voice of painting will never be silent.”
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