Masood Hassain’s “silent images”

By Hina Bashir.

Art does not need voice, when someone reaches to a point where he sees nothing but obscurity and feels the deep silence in the darkness then comes the art, which explains that what cannot be described through word, it exhibits the feelings which cannot expressed through words, it brings life into objects which are dead. Art give voice to snubbed emotions, harsh realities and unbearable woes.

Masood Hassain is one of renowned artist. He was born in Kashmir and traveled a lot in the Kashmir to bring into life to the beauty of Kashmir. He painted the true and enchanted culture and the beauty of this fascinated valley, but now his image shows the different picture of this charming valley. His painting is deprived of colors. There is nothing but loneliness and pitch-darkness.

For decades he has been representing the beauty of Kashmir on canvas but now the unrest condition of Kashmir has given a gloomy and dismal tone to his work. His canvas is deprived of liveliness. There is no light. There is no display of colors to show the sparkle of life.Deep sorrow peeps out through the images. His work gives the clear depiction of violence. It shows to the rest of the world the anguish condition through which people of Kashmir are suffering.

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Masood gives the iconic image of Gandhi, cloaked in glum and his eyes covered in darkness.

His images is without any captions but these images carry a lot of question and voices. Silent pictures of children and their gloomy eyes represent their despair. In one of his digital image Masood gives the iconic image of Gandhi, cloaked in glum and his eyes covered in darkness. There is deep hollowness and indentation in his image. A pellet wounded hand reaches to the face of Gandhi, as in the search of some lost thing. It give the image that as child is asking, that, is this your promise of free country in which we are living? It seems that child is questioning to the high authorities that is this your aim, to snatch the desire of living from the people. It give the image that if the child is searching for his lost reality and unambiguous identity.

In his image there is sharpness which give the sensation of pain and disturbance. Agitation of the artist peeps out of images. The blurriness of the children’s faces represent the entire generation of children who has been suffering in the turmoil since 1989. In one of his work with the title of “Those who disappeared” he tried to underpin the common aspects of Kashmiri life. Through his multimedia work, oil painting and water colors he tried to draw the connection between the disappeared and lost culture of Kashmir.

In one of his interview Masood Hassan said, that there has been turmoil in Kashmir since 1989 but the present condition of Kashmir snatched the colors of artists. Whatever artist see and the circumstances they face it automatically portray in their work. Whatever they see, violence, bloodshed it is portrayed in their daily work.

The ongoing turmoil and unrest in Kashmir, prompted by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen jihadist Burhan Wani has completed more than 100 days. This unrest in Kashmir resulted in the killing of Kashmiri people and leaving many injured. The valley witness continuous shutdown. Indian forces use pellet guns instead of real bullets because pellets do not kill but bring them to their knees in immense pain and gives them pain which is continuously darkening their lives inside and outside and rampaging their desire to live. It is giving them undeniable and unforgettable miseries and pains. Their lives have been trodden upon for decades and now the condition is worse than ever, which is leaving scares that one should never be exposed to.

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Kashmiri children see nothing but stones in the future.

Art has severed political purposes in the history and Masood Hussain’s recent work gives the forceful and strong political statement. Labeling the current condition of Kashmir, he created a series of digital art under the title of “silent images” to highlight the devastation resulted by the strikes of pellet guns on the lives of children. He stated that I have been painting the Kashmir’s pain since 1989 but I have never seen such callousness where even the eyes of children are not released. All of his images are palpable and self-explanatory. In all images we see the children without eyes but there are hollow spots. These hollow spots represent the forceful blindness which is implemented on the children by the Indian forces. Through this blindness, children are unable to see their future, through this they see nothing just darkness without a single spark of light. All the images shows atrociousness and the children seem lost in unknown place. It seems like they are unaware of their destiny and no one is there to guide them. It feels like they are wandering in a lost world without knowing their own existence. The most striking work includes the image of a schoolboy wearing a schoolbag and dropping of stones from the schoolbag. It seems like Kashmiri children see nothing but stones in the future.

Masood Hussain named these images as “silent images”. These dark images have no colors, no words but there are silent screams and hopelessness of the children. Their visionless eyes and faces contain a lot of questions. Their blank expressionless faces tell the story of their lives.

Writer is an English literature student and hails from Islamabad.

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