Joyful and vibrant color blends mixed in with a spoonful of surrealism and a dash of fantasy. When these manifest on Mirza’s canvas, they carry a powerful mystical tune—the notes unforgettable and ever lasting. It is as if the artist invited three guests in his midst—intuition, intellect, and emotion and painted with them.
Our understanding of twentieth-century art form is based on traditions brought forth by Cézanne and other Cubists. Visionaries such as Mirza, Fred Varley, Emily Carr, and Lawren Harris defy the norm. Mystically-realized art cannot be judged on the existing trends, rather you need different sort of lenses to understand the depth and complexity of mystical poetry on canvas. In mystical art, the artist achieves a meditative state of mind and then projects images and archetypes from the spiritual muse within. What these artists share is developing their work by calling on a higher level of consciousness, one that guides the strokes when the hand is moving on the canvas. Dancing figures, reflective women, musicians, dervish, birds—in a trice, leap off Mirza’s canvas and acquire a haunting and mysterious allure. His brush strokes and use of colors depict his sensitivity and mood, whether he is painting the serenity of the Buddha, the resurrection of the Christ or dancing women under a moonlight. Although he caution against seeing his pieces individually.
“Each piece of art is a component of the totality of expression of my personal philosophy. My body of work has to be looked at as a whole.”
Thirty years ago, Mirza was a new immigrant to the United States, and an evolving artist. Over the years as the events and places in his life changed, so did Mirza’s style as he internalized some of the Western and European styles and forms. He defines his work as a synthesis, drawing on the best of both to create something that reflects his own station in life. “I work with the mystical area of human existence,” says Mirza, “which in my opinion, is in between the real and the unseen world.”
In addition to canvas and paper he makes an extensive use of other mediums such as wood, glass, ceramic and metal for his work. “I choose whatever medium that best expresses my works and my thoughts,” he explains.
Acrylic on Paper
Folk Culture of Pakistan
Oil on Canvas
World in Chaos
Oil on Canvas
A Little Girl in the Balcony
Acrylic on Canvas
His proudest moment came in the form of a four-day exhibition of his work in August of 2006 at the Pakistan Consulate in Washington. The exhibition was inaugurated by Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani. During his speech, the ambassador praised Mirza's natural flair for blending bold themes in dynamic colors. The event also brought his work out in front of the broader Pakistani-American community in Washington as well as numerous U.S. government officials, providing them a glimpse of the splendor of the Pakistani culture. “The exhibition reflects Mirza’s eastern background and sensitivity,” Gulgee commented, a personal friend and supporter, who has reviewed Mirza’s work on many occasions.
The event was initiated by the Consul General of Pakistan in Houston, G.R. Baluch who describes Mirza as a great unsung painter of our times and an accomplished world artist. He happened to see some of Mirza’s art at a friend’s place. So impressed was he by Mirza’s work, that he proposed to have an exhibition of his paintings at the Pakistan Consulate in Washington. Prior to that, in February of 2004, Mirza was invited to the Texas State Capitol by Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, to showcase some of his work. Mirza also had a high profile exhibition in March of 2006 at the Pakistan Consulate in Houston.
(This article, written by Shaila Abdullah, first appeared in The Ismaili USA)
Links to the Artist