But every now and then we get a delightful email from S.M. Mansoor - an artist from Pakistan and modern practitioner of the ancient art of the miniature. I had met this fascinating gentleman 4 years ago on one of my very infrequent visits to the Jehangir Art Gallery.
His latest artistic salvo is called "Goodbye Shahzadi."
Wikipedia tells me that shahzadi can refer to a princess - but beyond that I was clueless - so I decided to write to S.M. Mansoor himself.
He responded immediately:
dear andi eicher,Art knows no boundaries. Or better said - Art can cross boundaries. Though it is not always easy.
this conceptual portrait belongs to mrs. benazir bhutto ex-prime minister of pakistan.
she was assassinated four years back during public address by suicide bomber in Rawalpindi.
so, you can observe the hardships & coming dangers ( angry black cloud on her head ) in her life.
which, i have mentioned earlier through this portrait on her first day to enter in pakistan after eight years self claimed asylum.
so, this is a sad & brief story behind the portrait.
dear, still. i remember you. because, we met in jahangir art gallery in bombay & you showed deep interest towards visual art.
might be with the reference of your sister.
i would like to invite you in lahore-pakistan hub of cultural activities like new delhi.
prof.s.m.mansoor artist/author/art educationist. lahore-pakistan
However one may feel about Benazir Bhutto - the sadness of the face and the formal twist of the neck speak volumes.
Hearing from Mansoor that his painting was about Benazir resonated with me. As a 5th standard school-boy in 1979 I had stood up for a minute of silence. Our school had heard the news that her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (an 'old-boy' of my then school - Cathedral and John Connon) had been hanged by Gen. Zia.
A picture - even a very small picture - can pack a punch.