studied at Atchison College and later read English for his Masters Degree
at Government College Lahore and St. Johns College, Cambridge. He studied
painting at Fine Arts Department, Punjab University and St. Martins School
of Art, London. Ijaz is recipient of the Presidents Award for
Pride of Performance, the highest national award in the field of
ul Hassan is one of Pakistans outstanding artists and a leader of a group
of painters who identify themselves with their surroundings. His work of the
seventies established a new trend in Pakistan Paintings. In the early
period, he employed popular images clipped from print media, posters and
cinema hoardings. Later, these were used to express larger social concerns.
Ijaz not merely painted, but lived the times for which he was on several
occasions apprehended and incarcerated. Many of the works of the period were
censored and removed from exhibitions. Canvas Gallery Karachi recently held
a retrospective show declassifying some of the works that have remained
concealed from public view.
during Gen. Zia ul Haq's Martial Law, Ijaz ul Hassan was one of the first
activists to be arrested and put in solitary confinement at the infamous
Lahore Fort. During this period, when every form of dissent was crushed,
Ijaz tried to have his thoughts and feelings known to the viewers with
images and symbols; many derived from nature.
One of the
images established was that of a window through which you look from lonely
confinement to sunny prospects. This image he evolved peering through the
bars of his cell in which he was incarcerated at Naukhar. He also
launched a series of paintings based on a vine girdling a tree. The
entwining vine conveyed the feeling of togetherness and fulfillment. In a
different vein, his paintings flaunting lilies and other natural elements
express manifold ideas and feelings ranging from pain to joy, according to
his speculative frame of mind at the given time.
ul hassan takes special care to seek out trees that have matured and
acquired striking individual identities. Most of these images symbolize
human struggle and growth. He also takes pain to record the phenomenon of
life and death; things coming into being and others perishing into oblivion;
somber prospects being suddenly invaded by sun shine, silhouetted leaves
ignited and dark lilies set ablaze by stray rays of light; a Laburnum
transforming from a spectre of death in winter to miracle of life. Ijaz is
thrilled to draw strength from the regenerating force of nature where an
axe falls on a limb, several shoots must grow next season. His work does not
aspire to explain the meaning of life but strengthens mans resolve to live
it. Ijaz has had seven solo exhibitions, many group shows and in the course
of almost five decades has produced extensive body of work including large
murals for public spaces.
ul Hassan writes regularly for national newspapers and international
journals. He is author of Painting in Pakistan, published (1990) by
Ferozesons (pvt) Ltd, Lahore.