Mohammed Shakil Saigol

The Karachi based artist Mohammad Shakil Saigol was born in the year 1944 in Kolkata. The Independence and the consequent partition was a period of deep turmoil in the country due to which Saigol’s family made the decision to move to Pakistan. Saigol belonged to a family of industrialists. He graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from the Government College, Lahore and had his first solo exhibition in 1991 at the age of 47. A really remarkable exhibition was held in 1999 at the Abrash Air Gallery in London, depicting his Jamavar Shawl Paintings. A common motif that can be traced through all of Mohammad Saigol’s work is the careful depiction of textiles in various forms. This is not surprising considering Saigol’s roots. His family is one of the wealthiest in Pakistan and did make their fortune with textile mills. Instead of continuing with the family business, Saigol chose to follow the untrodden path. He made the decision to leave the family business in his forties and pursue art instead. The surrealist aspect in his work makes sense if one looks at the people who inspired him: David Hockney, Dali, Rousseau and so on. He firmly believes in just leaving enough ambiguity in his work for the viewer to interpret it independently instead of feeding them with preconceived notions. One of his most iconic series is the one he finished in 2013 titled ‘Still We Are Like That Only’ which served as a political statement for the state of education in Pakistan, particularly for women. Even though Mohammad Saigol is very much a part of the Karachi elite, he is empathic to the plight of people which reflects in his work. His body of work is a healthy mix of the autobiographical, social and political. ;