Usman Ghauri

Usman Ghauri was born in Sukkur on July 12, 1969. He completed his Bachelors in Design from NCA, Lahore in 1992 and later went on to do his Masters in Art from University of New South Wales, Australia in 2000. Ghauri taught at Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture as Associate Professor from 1996 till his untimely death in 2011. He was a passionate printmaker and worked extremely hard to promote printmaking as a genre in Pakistan. He pioneered many innovative projects and set up the Indus Valley Gallery at IVSAA. Perhaps his passion stems from the fact that he made a conscious choice to switch from pre-engineering to the more creative field of graphic design and later to fine art. He was a man who followed his heart and knew that there was something missing that had to be fulfilled. His quest for fulfillment is what served as a driving force behind his creativeness.

Ghauri was a curator and a visionary who put all his creativity together to produce many exhibitions of a high caliber. Some of these include the box-print portfolios called Different Drummer (2009) and Out of the Box (2010) both of which culminated in a show at the Indus Valley Gallery. Both of these were unique as a printmaking portfolio of this scale and nature was previously only produced by NCA, Lahore many years ago in 1996 and one that followed Ghauri’s project, in 2010. The print portfolios not only serve as highly collectible items, the idea behind producing them was to promote printmaking as a genre in Pakistan and also to generate funds to further develop education in the field of printmaking by procuring equipment for the studio at IVSAA.

His own practice evolved over time as his printmaking was taken over by painting and later by sculpture. His medium would change according to his mood and his concept evolved slowly but surely. Towards the end of his career, his artwork had reached new heights and his range of work included all three mediums that he experimented with as well as mixed media, which he enjoyed the most.

Perhaps his quiet success stemmed from his meticulous and disciplined way of working. He was inspired by nature, and his observations within society. When asked to describe his artwork in five words, he came up with the following: fantasy, observation, ornamentation, analytical and self expressive. It would be safe to say that Ghauri’s sunny disposition was clearly reflected in his artwork and his career reached a crescendo in the last few years of his practice.

Ghauri’s subject-matter was an amalgamation of motifs borrowed from traditional miniatures, predominantly Mughal. He used calligraphy/text and textile as well as ordinary objects in his work. Conceptually, he was drawn towards exploring the place of long-established values and morals in modern-day society.

Heavily symbolic, his work contained icons like the fish, cone, champa tree and the human body. All of which he developed through observing society and human behaviour. Each artist puts a little bit of himself or herself into their artwork and for Ghauri, it was these symbols that, to an extent, represented him. A fine man, and a fine artist, Usman Ghauri will be greatly missed in art circles throughout Pakistan.

Khaas Art hosted him in a painting show in 2000 with Mashkoor Raza and R.M Naeem, in Different Drummer 2009 and in Trialogue 2010 with Abdul Jabbar Gull and R. M Naeem.

Usman Ghauri

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