One sunny afternoon my mother dragged me to Lahore Art Gallery for their annual art exhibition. As far back as I can remember my mother has always been an art aficionado and is often disappointed by her children’s lack of interest in art. Since I had nothing else to do that day I found myself accompanying mum on her excursion. We entered the century old building after climbing several steep steps. The original architecture of the building had been preserved, making it a relic among the contemporary buildings in its vicinity. Once inside it took a few seconds for our eyes to adjust to the dim lights inside.
The walls of the gallery had been coated with a rich maroon colour that was a sharp contrast to the various paintings that were on display. Some of the paintings were life-sized portraits. One that particularly impressed me was a portrait of a young woman from Amritsar, India. She was heavily decked in crimson clothes and flamboyant jewellery. On her head she carried a large clay pot used in olden days to carry water. I wondered how much time it must have taken for the artist to finish this painting. Even though I am a complete novice in art, I could still admire the finesse of the strokes that had ultimately performed such a breathtaking piece of work.
Other paintings that caught my eye included an oil painting of a gentleman in a tuxedo standing on a balcony. I was fully expecting it to have been done by a famous artist but was pleasantly surprised when I saw that it had been recently finished by an art student. A haughty looking old lady standing next to me bent closer to the painting as if to detect a flaw and then turned around to look at me.
“I’ve got my eye on this one,”
she said to me. I simply shrugged my shoulders. I had no intention of buying an art piece any time soon. I left such frivolities to my mother. I moved onto the sculpture section of the exhibit because the haughty-looking lady was still eyeing me suspiciously. Again I was in awe of the sculptures that I saw. It was as though someone with magical powers had animals and humans into stone. Any moment now if the spell broke they would resume their normal form. One sculpture that particularly caught my eye was depicting an iron gate being hit by lightning. I thought it was a fascinating concept. While I was busy scrutinizing it my mother spotted me from a distance and called out my name. She seemed excited because she had found a piece that she liked. I smiled to myself and wondered what my ever so practical father would say to the latest addition of mum’s collection.