You waited two years for this exhibition. Why?
I come out with an exhibition when I think I have broken new ground. There have been times when I have not had an exhibition for five years for the very same reason.
What new ground have you broken this time?
Not only do I develop diff e rent approaches, I often change mediums. This time I have been inspired by qawalis.
How did you fuse music with painting?
Due to my handicap, I have not missed anything in life except for music. I heard music before I lost my hearing. I continued to be associated with qawalis because it has motion translating music into gestures. As a painter, it's my belief that the real significance of both poetry and painting is that they invoke a multiplicity of images.
Could you elaborate further on that?
For instance, if a painting depicts a closed window, the plausibility of it opening is also pregnant in it. In qawali, when the dawn waits to break in course, the stillness is pregnant with the motion which is about to break. It is this very stage that attracted me.
What sets this exhibition apart from your earlier works?
In the present period, unlike anything I have painted before, the whole series is inspired by this quality of the qawali. I have also been attracted by pahadi miniatures.
What quality about these miniatures have you captured in your work?
Pahadi miniatures make man and space seem one, even though crowded with architecture. I have tried to follow their message.
This can have your critics labelling you as a traditionalist?
Even at that cost, I believe that the rejection of the past is worse than the imitation of the past. I try to assimilate the past rather than reject it.
Are you satisfied with what you have created this time?
Total satisfaction is never possible. Every time one feels one could do better next time. But overall, I find my present phase to be better than what I have painted earlier.
How much time did you spend putting together this exhibition?
The sculptures took two years and the paintings took me a year to complete.
What are your future plans?
I will continue to paint, sculpt and design buildings.