It appears that within the artist Omar Farid, many diverse artists exist. He is an artist who creates his views and visions of the world around him as he feels it.
“To paraphrase Descartes: I PAINT therefore I am…impulse wills me instinct guides me, passion powers…” (Omar Farid) “Born Pakistani, born proud, born free…”
One well remembers Omar Farid as a rebellious art student of the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts when Ali Imam was the Principal until he opened the Indus Gallery in 1971. Even then Omar was capable of creating beautiful miniature work, but it did not please him. As an art student, Farid owns that he tried Ali Imam’s patience to the utmost. He found the initial studies tedious and blurted out his boredom with landscape and still life studies. He was on the brink of expulsion from CIAC, until he discovered a style of art that created optical effects and filled him with excitement. He avidly sought out the work of Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley and he began an involvement that won Ali Imam’s approval. One remembers Farid’s work at that time, a youthful artist with a singular approach that juxtaposed nuances of classical miniature imagery with the black and white contemporary curves of optical illusion. He took the words of Bridget Riley to heart: “For me nature is not a landscape, but dynamism of visual forces…”,
It was the distinguished artist and scholar Nasir Shamsi who encouraged Farid in his youth. A close family friend, he would study the boy’s drawings with encouragement, telling him, “You are going to be an artist.”
Looking back to his youthful days Omar Farid confided, “I wouldn’t have been me if it wasn’t for Ali Imam. When he opened Indus Gallery he introduced me to Ahmed Parvez and other artists, all of whom were so interesting and interested in others. He recalls that as a young artist and sometime student struggling to find his way, he was kindly guided by Ali Imam, Ahmed Parvez, Nasir Shamsi and Bashir Mirza –whom he refuses to refer to as B.M, “Insulting to the man.” These distinguished artists allowed Farid to sit in on their discussions at the Indus Gallery, and at one stage Parvez told Farid: “What you are doing is too mature for your age, you will burn out.”
Farid related “He was right, I had a setback but Ali Imam saw me through all my experiments.” These are the heroes who remain his icons. “I have sat with giants and getting used to pygmies takes a lot of doing.”
“Now young people have nowhere to go and meet artists, and they rarely go to others exhibitions. It should be compulsory in all art schools for 4th year students to visit exhibitions and then come back and discuss them, and to say they do or don’t like the work and explain why.”
Omar Farid had shown his work in a number of exhibitions, then for personal reasons, there occurred a gap of some years. Now, one is delighted that the artist has come out of his shell and exhibits a selection of 55 delightful artworks dating from 1972, to the present time 2018. Each one is an original `thought-piece,’ using a variety of materials.
Viewing the work, one was amazed at his use of tools, and varied subjects.
A most beautiful group of three figures, titled `Tapestry, a triptych’ (dated 2006-2008) is worked with ink on paper. It is composed of classic female figures, worked with a central panel 21x27” and side panels measuring 20”x27. Exploring the work one discovered the details of each of the panels was enthralling. It is a museum piece without doubt.
`The Red Room’ (2018) was worked with acrylics on acrylic sheet; while the artwork titled: Leda and Cygne was worked with mix media on paperboard.
In a contrasting mood the artist makes his impression of New York involving cubism- tall roofs in bright acrylic colours on paperboard. Two pieces `Venus of dreams’ 1 & 2, is the work of inks and markers on paperboard, while `Dreamdeep’ is created with ink and gouache on paper. There is so much to explore and admire in Omar’s work, and one is aware, it all carries a great deal of the artist’s interest and feeling; here is an artist who works to please himself, and the result is, he pleases many people. This was clearly evident during his outstanding exhibition.