The company of artists and inspiration of their work drove me to become a painter myself,” said Muhammad Junaid Balloch at his exhibition of 160 paintings held at the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) on Monday.
The 57-year-old artist was first introduced to the art scene 35 years ago when he used to make frames for works of famous artists. He began painting in 1976 after being inspired by two brothers, artists Gulzar Chughtai and Abrar, and also by the famous painter, Ghulam Rasool. Balloch has never attended any formal institute to learn the art of painting. However, his work has been appreciated by art enthusiasts and noted artists alike.
The exhibition was inaugurated by Pakistan Muslim League-N Senator Najma Hameed. While addressing the visitors, the senator said, “It is only through artistic activities that tolerance and forbearance can be imbued in Pakistani society.”
Commenting on the work, Muhammad Azam Iqbal, a famous calligrapher said, “The technique of Balloch seems to be perfect. The perspectives he has used and the light scheme he has applied indicate that the artists is fully conversant with the basic techniques needed for painting.” He said the subjects chosen by Balloch are quite interesting, focusing primarily on landscapes and dated buildings and bazaars. Through his work, he peeps into the narrow and dark streets of Lahore and Rawalpindi, said Iqbal.
Natasha Khan, a student at the RMC, said that the work of Balloch related to the landscape of Islamabad and its surroundings is appreciable. “His paintings give meaning to ordinary things around him,” she said. It is encouraging to know that Balloch is a natural talent and leant the art of painting by following his instincts, she added.
Most of Balloch’s work displayed at RCA accentuates the natural and historic beauty of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. “My paintings are testament of my endeavors and I am satisfied with the response,” said Balloch, who is suffering from a heart ailment. He said he has included some abstract and semi-abstract works in his exhibit highlighting different vistas of daily life and “the inner feelings of the individuals”.