Farhan Mujib, the collagist nonpareil who passed away last year, is being remembered through an exhibition of his works
There were not many collagists of his ilk around and even after he is gone, we hardly have any. Actually, we have none. Talking of collages, Shakila Sheikh’s name does come to mind but then, her style is just so different from Mujib’s.
So that lone figure pursuing a genre as rare as collages with utmost devotion has also disappeared. Physician-turned-artist Farhan Mujib died last year of a heart attack. A year later, Apparao Galleries has put together a memorial tribute to the artist, showcasing 32 of his works collated from various collectors. Sharan Apparao intends to make it an annual affair with something new to offer every year. This time, she starts off with the release of limited edition archival graphic prints of Mujib’s works and a film on the artist made by Dev Benegal.
“I don’t know if we will be able to screen the film scheduled for December 2 but whenever it is ready we will have a screening. It has Farhan Akhtar’s voiceover. If Mujib was alive he would have brought in many more new elements to his work. He had started by cutting stuff from magazines but in the last years had started photographing. He would have used these pictures in his work,” says Sharan Apparao of Apparao Galleries.
Belonging to an erudite Muslim family, he explored the lost grandeur of Indian heritage through his detailed renditions of havelis. And he chose the language of architecture for this search. In his grand entrances, doorways, courtyards, windows, live and thrive traces of popular culture and folk elements. Amidst all these also live kings and queens, drying clothes, vases, urns and mythical horses.
But these heavy adornments were like layers upon layers that a viewer was required to peel off if she was to gain entry into the work.
Art was always central to Mujib’s life. Even while he was teaching Physics at Aligarh Muslim University, he was making collages, although for family and friends. In 2004, he took voluntary retirement to pursue art full time.
“And just some time before his demise, he had told me how he felt this urge to paint.”
Sharan Apparao has also set up the Farhan Mujib Foundation which will seek to take forward Mujib’s legacy. His wife plays an active role in the Foundation.
(The exhibition will be on view at Triveni Kala Sangam, Mandi House, till December 3)
Keywords: Apparao Galleries