Ebrahim Alkazi: A tribute from his daughter


Ebrahim Alkazi (1925-2020) let work coexist with his household life, as a result of for him, artwork was life

A hushed silence enveloped our house. Beethoven, Stravinsky, Begum Akhtar, Ravi Shankar — the gramophone enjoying 45s winds on. My father, absorbed within the music, eyes shut, a pocket book and a well-sharpened pencil are neatly positioned in entrance of him, aligned at an ideal 90-degree angle to the nook of the desk! His physique, within the pose of Rodin’s Thinker, is relaxed, however on the identical time suffused with a contained power.

Daylight breaks with its smooth, pink mild, the sound of the ocean and the sparrows soften away to be overtaken by the cacophony of BEST buses. He has been awake since at the very least 5 a.m., studying, and has already made himself a pot of tea. In just a few moments he’ll supply a recent cup to my mom, in mattress, a small luxurious that she appreciates with out fail.

I observe the ritual by way of drowsy, half-closed eyes, whereas the servants start to shuffle noiselessly about their chores. My gaze shifts, and is caught by an African masks, then strikes to Husain’s sensuous but stately Blue Nude. It hovers on a bronze Shiv/Parvati immobilized eternally of their ecstatic embrace, and at last involves relaxation on a seated Bodhisattva Padmapani, sleek in his tribhanga, eyes down, wanting inward, in meditation.

The whiteness of our studio flat, with out partitions to divide it into rooms, takes on the air of a temple or sanctuary, conceived, designed and appointed by my father in such a means as to encourage one to look inside, to meditate, to ponder — an area for thought.

The easy, austere traces of the furnishings, trendy, but useful, sparsely but aesthetically form the area into areas for sleeping, consuming, learning and socialising. This unfastened definition of area speaks of an perspective, a philosophy, the place all day by day actions are seen as a part of an integral entire. There aren’t any sharp distinctions between our non-public and social lives, simply as there isn’t a sturdy definition separating work from leisure. All work is seen as pleasurable and fulfilling, and so we ate, drank, did theatre, put up exhibitions, or went on picnics with the identical diploma and depth of enjoyment.

Our house doubled as my father’s workspace and so all his actions — discussions, rehearsals, the recording of music for his performs, the preparation of posters, the mounting of slides for his many talks — have been completed in full view of the household. He actively concerned us in all. Thus, we imbibed and developed a love for artwork, structure, dance, music, theatre, literature, poetry in a pure means — he woke up our sensibilities to area, mild, type, color, motion, rhythm, and texture.

“Come here I want to show you something…”

My father’s eyes twinkle with pleasure as he magically reveals a field from behind his again, wrapped in white muslin. Unwrapping it very fastidiously, as if it have been a fragile piece of glass, he gently lifts every artwork work out, and arranges them in neat rows on the mirror topped espresso desk. This entire course of is completed slowly, meticulously, in full silence, creating an aura of reverence and awe we should always undertake in direction of these distinctive creations. His intentness evokes the same response from us, so we simply wait and watch, and are very nonetheless.

In virtually a whisper he says, “You will not believe it, but I discovered these beautiful watercolours in this tiny little ramshackle shop, and I was so thrilled that I felt we must look after them and cherish them. Aren’t they exquisite?”

He proceeds to level out just a few attention-grabbing particulars in every picture: a hen perched on a department, a person smoking a beedi. This means he arouses our curiosity; his concept is to awaken our curiosity. He needs us to look, to note issues hidden, half seen, tucked away.

I don’t imagine that as youngsters and even as adults, he ever talked about artwork in conceptual or tutorial phrases, however all the time referred to artwork as associated to life, as an expression of the human situation.

As he as soon as stated: “A pupil can be taught extra by listening to the tune of a hen, watching the mochi ply his craft, or a weaver work his loom, than by listening dumbly to an outdated bore who has the presumption to imagine that he’s paid solely to mouth his platitudes.”

The author is Ebrahim Alkazi’s daughter and is engaged on his biography

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