Khuda hafiz Nagori

Nagori in Karachi, Feb 2008

Irreverent, bold, and passionate – that’s how I remember Nagori, who was very much part of the struggle – and particularly supportive of the Women’s Action Forum – against Gen. Zia’s military dictatorship. The last time I met him was in Feb 2008 when he gave a wonderful presentation of his work before a small group of people.

Isa Daudpota sent this brief slide show of three photos of Nagori with the note: “The hand with the cacti is Nagori’s. I took it on the Khi-Hyd highway. My photo with him was taken at Aijaz Qureshi’s house.
This was a farewell party for me; in 1985 I decided to leave Sindh University for greener pastures.
“Nagori did a series of paintings on the massacre in Lebanon by the Israelis. When in the USA I sent him a photocopied kiddies’ book of English Alphabets with each letter made up of wee piggies holding on to each other – delightful cartoon drawings. I was amused to learn that he held an exhibition based on these with the pigs wearing military uniform! Every piece was sold.
“That’s one way to impart literacy ;-)”

“We at Himal will miss AR Nagori” commented Kanak Dixit, emailing a link to ‘Can Art be called Islamic?’ by Nagori in Himal 2008.

Here’s a note from Niilofur Farrukh, Editor, NuktaArt:

“Nagori breathed his last yesterday, Jan 14, 2011. A fearless artist who used his iconography to highlight the predatory habits of the army the mullah and the politicians. A student of Anna Molka Ahmed, to whom he paid extensive tribute in an interview with me, he acknowledged how she had singled him, a poor refugee,for a career in art teaching and made sure he put in extra time to learn art history. This gave him a solid theoretical foundation and an abiding interest in writings. His crisp, barb-filled style was to become distinctive in art circles and beyond.

Nagori was blunt to a fault and his art is not for the politically correct. His 1980s series on Zia-ul Haq’s Islamization and army action on Sindh which was banned in Islamabad and clandestinely showed by Ali Imam at the Indus Gallery, is as direct as his more recent painting that show wolves roaming a haunted Islamabad.

Now that he has gone, I regret not meeting him more often in recent years. As a young art graduate I first met him when Bashir Mirza invited me to join Sindh Artists Association. Nagori rushed in late having come directly from Hyderabad, where he was heading the Fine Arts Department at the University, that he had founded.

His art has the power to move and question and with time I discovered his commitment to the Pakistan he came as a young man and to the hundreds of students from rural Sindh that he mentored.

He was a courageous artist and critic of our times. Khuda Hafiz Nagori, we will miss your candor and commitment.”

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2 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by beena sarwar. beena sarwar said: Khuda hafiz Nagori. #Artist #activist #progressive #Pakistan http://bit.ly/dVhpoc http://fb.me/ELjcFrgZ […]

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  2. Thx for information.

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