Few of us can find meaning in line and shade, in structure and form. Nasreen Mohamedi, however, distilled her entire life’s meaning and creativity into wonderfully abstract line-based drawings.

Nasreen Mohamedi (1937—1990), recognized today as one of the important modern artists of the 20th century, lived her life in productive solitude and anonymity. Born in Karachi, her life and interests took her to cities such as Bahrain, Mumbai, Delhi, London, Paris, and finally to Baroda in 1972, where she taught Fine Art at Majaraja Sayajirao University, and would continue teaching until her death in 1990.

Mohamedi experimented with various mediums such as sketches, watercolours, oil, graphite and even photography. However, her preferred medium was pencil and paper.

 

It is difficult to categorize Mohamedi’s work as most of her creations are left untitled and undated. Her drawings betray a disciplined effort to capture silence, movement, balance and a delicate emotional intensity. Her lines are always deliberate, operating within structures that appear to float at impossible angles.

 

 

Her own journal entries, such as the one below, can perhaps offer more insight into her mind and creative process.

 

“In the midst of these arid silences one picks up a few threads of texture and form…One can be absolutely silent and share the dancing rhythms. The same rhythms we see through despair. One only has to recognize it. Waiting one learns to watch its weight – the strong aridity of the desert. It makes on detached in a tiny way in a clear and vital way. Waiting is part of intense living.”

 

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