The horses do not look celestial. They look wild, hungry and powerful with white shining eyes. They are all seen neighing with open, aggressive mouths. In most of the paintings, they are seen in groups bonding with one another. In one painting, they are shown in moonlight with a moon in blue sky. Aslam Shaikh lives and works in Kolkata London. Shaikh received training in Nottingham where he acquired qualifications of a professional restorer and conservator of paintings.
There appears to be strong Indian influence in his paintings. M.F. Husain was well known for his paintings on horses.
The first solo show by Shaikh was in India. “Sacred made real.” It consisted of a series of paintings representing the state of Kerala. It was a tribute to Kerala’s performing arts and culture, an edge. According to Aslam Shaikh, Shivaji’s horses are a breed that stand out from others. “The horse’s head has a characteristic dished profile with a prominent eye, large nostrils and small teacup muzzle. There was a religious significance in the horse’s features: the large forehead was said to hold the blessings of the creator. His/her high tail carriage was symbolic of a certain pride. The arched neck and high crest signified courage and when stories were narrated to us, the horse itself became a symbol of power…” The exhibition which began yesterday at the Jehangir Art Gallery will continue till August 8th. Contact: +91 11 24114351/52.