Though he has come out with a series of paintings on the majestic mountains, Ghazali Moinuddin, an art teacher at Jamia Millia Islamia, rarely travels to a hill station.

“It has been ages since I have been to a hill station. All the 45 paintings have come through my imagination. Even when I am confined to a room surrounded by books and magazines, my mind transports me to a serene hill station where the beauty of Himalayas leaves me in a trance. Unlike other artists who use the brush to depict their artistic impressions, I make use of my fingers to depict the natural surroundings,” says Moinuddin, who has been teaching at Jamia since 2003.

Describing himself as a landscape artist, Moinuddin’s paintings are on display at a five-day solo exhibition titled Nuqoosh-e-Fitrat at Visual Art Gallery of India Habitat Centre here these days.

Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who inaugurated the exhibition over the weekend, complimented the artist and discussed with him some of his works.

Noting that art cannot be taught, Moinuddin says it is something within you. “Either you are blessed with an artistic bent of mind or you are not. As a teacher, I can only show the direction and give guidance. Not all of my students become artists. Most have become professionals. Just like innumerable students cram up books on engineering and medical science but only a selected number of students become professionals,” says Moinuddin.

The artist has had a long association with Jamia.

“I enrolled at Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1995 and then also completed my Masters.”

Over the years, he has taught so many students but remembers the names of only a few. However, he remembers all the hardship he went through while struggling and is grateful to two people who helped him become a full-fledged artist.

“My brother Haroon Rashid promoted and constantly encouraged me. I would also like to thank the Head of Department of Fine Arts and Art Education at Jamia, Mamoon Nomani, for providing me technical guidance.”

According to art curator Keshav Malik, here is a work which does not serve solely as a means of expressing the painter’s admiration of nature. “Instead, he feels strongly that painting has a task of its own to accomplish in the service of imaginative life. The artist has developed a style which is in keeping with the thirst of mankind’s inner needs. Here there is a greater and starker simplicity, which is expressive and natural.”

Born and brought up in Delhi, Moinuddin originally belongs to Fatehpur. Though he had Science as a subject in higher secondary classes, his passion for art made him change it to Arts.

Moinuddin has developed a technique of a unique style of painting wherein he paints directly from the colour tubes and uses his fingers to create beautiful landscapes which may appear haphazard from up close but gain depth and meaning with distance.