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Muslim Legends

Ahmed Parvez (Painter)

Ahmed Parvez was a modernist painter from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, who lived from 1926 until 1979. He was a founding member of the Pakistan Group in London and a member of the Lahore Group in Pakistan. Between 1955 and 1964, he was one of the few early modernists of Pakistani origin to receive widespread critical acclaim, with solo exhibitions at the New Vision, Lincoln, and Clement Stephens galleries in London, as well as exhibitions at the Commonwealth Institute in London and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

On the horizon of Pakistani painting, Ahmed Pervez shone like a bright light. He became known for his deep individualism, Powerful Stokes, and Colorful Paintings, as well as his distinct and original abstract painting technique.

On July 7, 1926, Ahmed Parvez was born in Rawalpindi. After his parents divorced in the late 1920s, he migrated to Srinagar. Government College for Boys, Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, and afterwards Gordon College, Rawalpindi, were where he studied. His grandpa was an architect, and his uncle Michael Jacobs had a studio in Lahore, thus the family was interested to the arts. Parvez had always been interested in painting but had been discouraged by his family, so he went to work for a clearing and shipping firm in Karachi.

Parvez resigned from his work in 1952 to pursue his dream. He travelled from Karachi to Lahore, where he began his creative studies in the European academic manner at his uncle Jacob’s workshop. At the annual All Punjab Art Exhibition, organised by Anna Molka Ahmed, the director of Punjab University’s Fine Arts department, he earned the University of Punjab shield for males that year.

He became involved with the ‘Lahore Group,’ a group of young artists in Lahore. Ali Imam, Mariam Habib, Qusida Feroze, Moyenne Najmi Sheikh Safdar, Anwar Jalal Shemza, and Qutub Sheikh were among those who were arrested.

Members of the group were encouraged to travel overseas and broaden their horizons by Anna Molka Ahmed and Shakir Ali. As a result, the Lahore Group dispersed, with many of its members fleeing to Europe. Parvez moved to London in 1955 and stayed there for the rest of his life. Ali Imam, Shemza, and FN Souza were among Parvez’s London buddies. He met his first wife, Rani, in London, and they had four children together. It was here that Parvez formed the ‘Pakistan Group,’ which exhibited together for a brief period of time.

Initially, he loved life in London, but as time went on, he found it difficult to adjust to life in the UK, and he was prone to spells of sadness, which were compounded by his drunkenness. He squandered the family’s meagre funds on art supplies and alcohol.

In 1955, he took part in the Sao Paolo Biennale, and in 1958, he exhibited at the Woodstock Gallery. Following that, exhibitions were held at Dennis Bowen’s New Vision Centre. In 1963, Parvez had a show in London’s Commonwealth Institute and Lincoln Gallery, as well as Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum and Bear Lane Gallery. This was insufficient for Parvez, and in 1964 he left London and his family, returning to Karachi, Pakistan.

He met and married his second wife, Reiko, in Karachi, and the two eventually moved to New York, where they had a son. With shows at Bashir Mirza’s ‘The Gallery,’ his work in Pakistan was marked by bolder colours than in London. Ahmed Pervez, a rare star in the field of painting, died at a young age despite dedicating his entire life to the art form. He also continued to raise the flags of his originality by creating new works of art across the world. He was a remarkable artist who left an everlasting mark on Pakistan’s modern art. In 1978, the Pakistani government presented Ahmad Pervez with the Presidential Award for Excellence in appreciation of his efforts. The date was August 14, 2006.On August 14, 2006, Pakistan Post released an Rs. 40 stamps based on 10 great Pakistani artists, including Ahmed Pervez.

Ahmed Pervez died on October 5, 1979, at the age of 53 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was laid to rest in Society Cemetery, Karachi.


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