Shabnam Hussain

December 28, 2009 – January 28, 2010

The Arabian – Indian connection, as manifested in multi-foliate veins form commerce to cultural exchange, dates back to the peak of the Abbasid Dynasty rule in Baghdad during the 9th century. The connection could only get stronger over the time. As Kuwaiti and Eastern Arabian Peninsula traders needed to hit the sea routes to the East, the Indian gate was their ultimate destination. India likewise had always looked at this part of the world as a center point to outreach the East Mediterranean.

Today India has a lot to boast about; the biggest democracy, an emerging economic superpower, and a cultural and artistic vivacity.

Formative Arts have always been the catalyst of Indian culture. Since Independence those arts have played a multi-faceted role in the social and cultural initiatives. The artistic endeavors of artists like Amrita Chergail and Gamina Roy of the pre-Independence years had laid out the route for talented generations to come. Their efforts helped unleash new styles enriching the Indian art and liberating it from the limitations posed by the miniature style that had dominated the Indian art repertoire for long.

To our good fortune we could enjoy and attest to the originality of works of art produced by newer generations such as Maqboul Hussein and others in a comprehensive exhibition recently organized by Kuwait’s National Council for the Arts and Culture. The Boushahri Gallery has also contributed to the introduction of Modern Indian Art in a series of exhibitions over the last years. Artists like Subramanyan, Krishen Khann, Redha, Ram Kumar, Bhupen, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Baramjit Singh, Bawa, Arpita Singh and others were introduced in those exhibitions.

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The overwhelming beauty of her formative designs is enthralling. The details encompassing her renderings on paper and canvas are diverse and involving in their thematic richness and formative ornamentations. The overall organic effect is a mélange of innate innocence, pure love and sheer optimism.

The major component of Shabnam’s visual experience could be traced back to the rich, diverse and old Indian heritage of fables and anecdotes. The perceptive viewer’s residual of interacting with the artist’s endeavor wouldn’t be, we promise, less rich. Shabnam’s rather spontaneous performance yields itself to a reserved simplicity that corresponds with ‘the innocent’ in each and every one of us.