Imran Khan through the eyes of an artist

Published: August 8, 2013

It was probably one of the more reflective depictions of the Pakistani hero. PHOTO:

While the Jumma Hafta Art Bazaar that recently took place at a local cafe in Karachi, called The Second Floor (T2F), was a melting pot of compelling art pieces and vibrant canvases, the most eye-catching of all the displays around was probably the portrait of Imran Khan that Shanzay Subzwari was painting on the spot. The artist’s inspiration behind choosing that particular piece was pretty basic — the appreciation of Pakistani heroes.

All of us are used to seeing objects, particularly politicians, in binaries; either one is Darth Vader or one is Batman. There’s no in-between. No one accepts them as just mere mortals who are prone to making mistakes and while that may not be so erroneous most of the time, it’s practically impossible for anyone to be totally devoid of any positives — even if he or she is a politician from our part of the world.

The multiple colours, splashed with measured brushstrokes, had the very obvious impact of inciting curiosity. The eyes were painted blue around the corners and stood out like stubborn car beams that one often comes across on the roads of Karachi. The lips, that were painted red, immediately had you conjuring up a mental image of a clown whose makeup is kept loud, intentionally, to mask the actual sentiments underneath. The hair was accentuated with various hues of purple, green and orange, lending an impression of the person having had his share of experiences and trials, if not a jab at the politician’s ‘colourful’ reputation itself.

The nose, as if defying imperfection, was painted with steady hands, ultimately adding to the effect of the portrait bespeaking “steely resolve”. For a person who is as associated with the slogan of ‘change’ as Imran Khan is, the portrait appeared to be too set in stone for my liking.

Even though it did grasp the fact that there’s more to a person than what is perceived after listening to them speak on TV for a few minutes, I felt that the art piece could have said more. Having said that, it was probably one of the more reflective depictions of the Pakistani hero, for I can imagine everyone else painting him in only green and white.

Riffat Rashid

Riffat Rashid

The author is currently a Media Science student at SZABIST. A literature, food and art enthusiast. She tweets here

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • farhan

    Haha…. another one in making of (bhai) khan sahab,,,,” abh kya pattey par bhi shabeeh ayegi kya “?Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Awsome Paintjob.!!Recommend

  • Waqar

    Thumbs up…amazing art !Recommend

  • Jamaluddin

    Thumbs up !Recommend

  • http://none muqaddim

    lots of love :’) good. keep it up. Love for Khan.. I will try too. Recommend

  • Zulqarnain

    Lack of rationality and reliance on guts is what the artist should have painted Imran Khan’s portrait with, in order to present a more realistic picture.Recommend

  • RT

    It just shows that Pakistanis, educated or not, continue to remain deluded by personalities, no matter how ineffective they turn out to be. Imran Khan now, Benazir Bhutto previously, and Zulfiqar Bhutto historically .. to name a few.Recommend

  • Shahid

    Yet more idol worship. Cult.Recommend

  • Falcon

    Interesting. I would have never figured out what those colors meant :)Recommend

  • salman

    imran khan will always be our heroRecommend

  • Gp65

    Great artwork author. Thank you for sharing and thank you also for sharing your interpretation.

    This is just the author’s interpretation of what the collars meant. That may not be the actual artiste’s thought process.Recommend

  • Pak

    @ Salman.
    Not OUR’S only yours.Recommend



  • Parvez

    I loved the way you wrote this and your impressions of the colour scheme and how you thought they relate to Imran…………especially in the end when you conclude that all others see him in green and white, that was very telling.

  • Ali Shah

    Imran Khan is probably the biggest hero that the people of this country look up to.Recommend

  • TTV

    I love the thought and creativity Ms.Subzwari puts into each of her paintings. She has a bright future ahead of her if she continues to put out work of this calibre.Recommend

  • http://The farida Khan

    Your painting is beautiful.The person you have chosen has made all the difference.Imran Khan is a man of highclass.No one can match him in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Shanzay Subzwari

    Thank you so much for this article on my work once again, Riffat. Your interpretation truly holds strength and is very apt. Let me clear one thing out for the readers, though- my Imran Khan live painting was done at T2F in order to promote my upcoming show there in October, based on ‘Cricket Heroes’. I painted Afridi live as well. Hence, my painting does not have any political overtones, but was done to commemorate Imran Khan as a legendary cricketer.
    Everyone, however, is welcome to interpret it in their own way, as that is what art is about:)
    Thank you for the appreciation.Recommend

  • http://. Abid P. Khan

    @farida Khan:
    “….Imran Khan is a man of highclass….”

    Since when?Recommend

  • Zeeshu af

    Nice piece of work. . :)
    i really loved the art. .good effort!Recommend

  • mind control

    The eyes were painted blue
    The lips, that were painted red,
    The hair was accentuated with various hues of purple, green and orange,

    Blue, Red, Purple, Orange- But not enough Green.

    Aamir Liaqat– What does that tell you?Recommend

  • Gratgy

    The artist could have kept the canvas blank. That would have pretty well summed up Imran Khan’s vision for PakistanRecommend

  • Sane

    Now Imran Khan shall only be remembered in paintings and sketches. Another ‘leader’ among many. Isn’t sickening to listen same rhetoric again and again. Change……Change……and Change……Recommend

  • asma

    i think it was great !! the use of different colors can be interpreted as colors of life !! the bold colors and dark colors reflecting enthusiasmic expressions !! loved to see him colorful bcoz seeobg him colorful develops hope !! This is how i percieve it !!Recommend

  • farida khan

    I feel the artist has done wonderful job.By using various colours she has painted Imran Khans biography.

  • Yousuf Ali Badshah

    Great work from the Artist. It have been seen or observe that it is a bit difficult to Draw/Portrait the pic of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Imran Khan. But, that was a great perspective.Recommend

  • Mohammad Sameer

    Dear Artist,

    I would like to order this painting, Please let me know what’s the procedures, I’m from Dubai.