His paintings exhibit a sophisticated delicacy that is difficult to match; also there is an architectural or 3D like quality about his works. While looking at his paintings, one gets a sense that one is not looking at a still image but a sort of a visual film, one senses movement and flux in the images. Such is the sheer brilliance of his work.
Jamil Naqsh was born in 1938 in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh. But, following the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, he moved to Karachi in Pakistan. In 1953, he enrolled at the National College Art (then Mayo College) in Lahore, but was unable to complete his education there, After a period of 2 years, he left the college to pursue studies on his own.
A maverick of sorts, Jamil Naqsh charted his own course in art education by undergoing rigorous training in various styles of miniature painting under the guidance of Ustad Mohammad Sharif. The idea was to understand the underlying aesthetic structure of miniature paintings. Although, Jamil Naqsh’s painting style does not directly reflect miniature traditions, their emphasis on the dominance of line became integral in his works regardless of the style or subject. It is said that under the tutelage of Ustad Mohammad Sharif, Naqsh imbibed a lifelong discipline of beginning to work with the first rays of the sun and continue till evening. As opposed to many of his contemporaries who were delving deep into western art forms, he sought to understand and absorb the spirit of his roots in order to study modern art movements from a vantage point of strength .
Naqsh’s mature style is a blend of cubism – in the way he treats form and texture – tempered with fluidity and a subtle use of colour. Naqsh has painted the female form in many of his canvases replete with poise and grace. In another series of paintings he pairs pigeons and doves with the female form, symbolic of love, peace and gentleness
Naqsh’s work has been exhibited extensively in Pakistan, India, the UK and the UAE. Between 1960 and 68 he served as Co-Editor of Seep, an Urdu literary magazine, and between 1970 and 73 as President of the Pakistan Painters Guild. Among the artist’s many honours are medals and awards from the Pakistan Art Council, Karachi; the Ministry of Culture, Pakistan; and the Arts Council of Pakistan. In 2009, Naqsh was awarded the Sitara-e Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, and in 2003, a retrospective of his work was held at the Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi, a rare honour for a living artist.
Jamil Naqsh passed away in London in May 2019.
Studied in National College of Arts, Lahore, for two years
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2009 ‘Jamil Naqsh Pays Homage To Pablo Picasso’, Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai
2005 ‘Jamil Naqsh’, The Studio Glass Gallery @ Thomas Goode, London
2003 ‘Jamil Naqsh: A Retrospective’, Mohatta Palace Museum
2001 ‘Magic of the Line’, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi
2001 Jamil Naqsh Museum, Karachi
1999 Formal Inaugration, Jamil Naqsh Museum, Karachi
1996 Homage to Marino Marini, Momart Art Gallery, Karachi
1996 Establishment of Jamil Naqsh Foundation and Museum, Karachi
1967 Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi
1963 Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi
1962 Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi
1959 Karachi Council of Arts, Karachi
Selected Group Exhibitions
2012 ‘The Nude’, Albemarle Gallery, London
2007 ‘The Trinity Revealed’, Gandhara Art Gallery, Kolkata
2006 ‘A Glimpse of Trinity’, Pakistani Master's Show at gandhara-art.com(Pakistan's first virtual exhibition)
2006 ‘Ibteda: The Beginning’, at gandhara-art.com
2006 The Park Hotel and Habiart Gallery, New Delhi
2006 ‘Pakistani Master's Show’, Park Hotel, New Delhi
2003 Private Collection of Najmi Sura
Honours and Awards
2003 Subject of an extensive retrospective exhibition at the Mohatta Palace, the only artist to have been thus honored in his lifetime
1989 President's Pride of Performance Award
1980 Shakir Ali Award, Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan
1962 Gold Medal, Pakistan Arts Council, KarachiBack to Artists View Artworks of Jamil Naqsh