A Study in Contemplation.

The Art, A study in contemplation.
Contributed by Alfiya Inamdar.

This is the story behind the inspiration of my latest work – A Study in Contemplation.

The inspiration for the artwork is two- fold and comes from two ideas – one a visual stimuli from the present, a photo of my professor and the second, a subconscious thought brewing for over three years – my father-in-law’s paintings.

Abba and Ammi, Abdul Kader Shaikh and his wife, his inspiration.

The portrait is of my professor who taught me architecture and has since become a good friend and confidante. The idea behind the mood of the painting emerged from a subconscious desire to create an ode to my father-in-law, Abdul Kader Shaikh. A man I have heard wonderful stories about but did not have the good fortune to meet in person. A man ahead of his time – an artist and a creator, he believed in contriving with his own bare hands – he possessed a certain thirst for knowledge that led him on many great adventures. From a stone mason to a barber – A celestial navigator to a member of the merchant navy – A carpenter to a painter.

His thought was always followed with a story for every occasion and a lesson for every downfall – he taught everyone around him to never give up on their beliefs.

As for me, the latest addition to his family, his body was gone but I always felt his presence. The legacy of his two paintings remained a constant enigma, push and inspiration to me as an artist.

The untitled paintings were conceived in circa 1980-85 and have a fascinating story as they were lost in time. My father-in-law or Abba as we lovingly refer to him had donated the paintings to some friends as a keep sake many years ago. They were then forgotten about and escaped into oblivion. When my husband and I got married, seeing as how I was also an artist, he remembered his father’s paintings and was keen on showing them to me. After some rigorous sleuthing we found them, still with the same family but a little damaged – cracks with passing time and some children got their hands on it and had a good time painting over it with nail polish.

As far as the origin of the paintings go – they were painted on a ship during one of his excursions with the Shipping Company of Goa. He painted these gorgeous women slowly and meticulously on his days off on the ship. It has been said; he painted the women as a mirror of how he imagined his wife, back home in anticipation of his return. An evening setting imposes on the end of the day, the pledge of a bond, when men return home and women wait with the promise of their return. The deep, almost seductive color palette sets a pensive mood, beckoning the viewer in, leading them to ponder on who waits for them at the end of the day.

When I saw them for the first time, almost three decades since their conception – they spoke to me, one artist to another. I had heard my father-in-law was strong, rugged and brave but when I saw the paintings I also realized that he was emotionally intelligent, nuanced and understood women. I imagine as he painted them he must be in a thoughtful, almost pensive mood, Retrospective – capturing the essence of memories he had with his wife into beautiful works of art. I get goose bumps, every time I think about the romanticism!

My Interpretation
For me the photo reference of my professor gave birth to the main focus point of the painting; the mood came from my father in laws painting. My professor is informally sitting deep in thought; Her motion still but her expression creating and lending an emotional fluidity to the painting. The same subtle questioning emotion you sense as you gaze into my Abba’s painting. I believe he passed on to me an anecdote of thought, creativity and depth that now I have interpreted in my own way and hope to pass on along with our treasured legacy to further generations.




Watch the making of A Study in Contemplation.
[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZo1EyUDD8k[/embedyt]

The header/ featured image is artist and writer of this beautiful story, Alfiya Inamdar.