‘Binqulander’ by Wardah Naeem Bukhari
Binqulander, painter, graphic designer, calligrapher and art expert was born in Lahore, Pakistan. He completed his Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts with specialization in Miniature painting from the National College of Arts Lahore, in 2009, where he also earned a Diploma in Calligraphy in 2010. Binqulander is a son of Sufi sage. He is a renowned Calligrapher of the generation that has emerged under the influence of the purity of Islamic Art. Skill and thought is a unique blend to express his refined abilities and hard work with the blessed help of the bestowed gift of creativity by Allah Almighty. He is appreciative in his spiritual beliefs and enthused by the visual sense of his audience. His creative work is a landmark in the genre of calligraphy that has always been considered as a significant aspect of Islamic Art
Analysis of Pakistani Art in a Contemporary Context
Binqulander’s practice has extended far beyond the traditional approach and patterns of calligraphy that had helped an abstract style. His extensions are based on the warm-up exercises practiced by professional calligraphers prior to the beginning of an original creation. Binqulander’s approach and interest in calligraphy are intuitive because he did start calligraphy in early age and also which he enhanced during his student life at the College when he was putting his hands to a variety of art forms while trying to decide which one to concentrate on. Binqulander is blessed with a fluent and lyrical visual language. A Sufi’s developmental meditative practice focuses on strict self- control to enable psychological and mystical insights as well as a loss of self, with the ultimate goal of the mystic union with God. This Sufi tradition has inspired almost all art forms of the Islamic world from music, dance to the various genres of visual arts. While researching Pakistani art, I found some calligraphers working as a calligraphic painter. When calligraphy is usually talked about, we discuss its traditional background. But, when I specially decided upon one of them, “Binqulander”, I chose him because his work transforms the traditional practice into a contemporary art form. This research aspect adopts a qualitative methodology as a case study in which the artist’s interview has been conducted in different states of mind and different point of views in four to five meetings in a one month. Observations have been made by the researcher and documents have been consulted to strengthen the study. A methodology of intrinsic and extrinsic analysis has been adopted for this research. The philosophical aspect has been discussed to make the analysis clearer and more precise. The researcher has formulated a thematic analysis of Binqulander’s biographical sketch, life history and calligraphic art work. This endeavor has identified five stylistic varieties modulated by the artist and concludes they represent a duality and contrast through colours, light and dark, psychical and metaphysical and the presences and absence.
By choosing abstract primary subjects such as words, thought and ayat (Quranic verses), Binqulander’s works articulate a metaphysical tradition. Its target is the viewer’s consciousness and the soul’s embodiment of vision and thought. Similarly this philosophical theory relates to my argument that “Mind and body dualism represents the metaphysical stance that mind and body are two distinct substances, each with a different essential nature. Originated in the ancient period, a well-known version of dualism is credited to Rene Descartes of the 17th century” mind-body dualism is an illusion and contrary to Sufism. Binqulander’s creates letters and compositions that enjoy freedom of constructions as well as freedom of constituting different variations, thoughts, thus establishing a new approach to execution of calligraphic art. Binqulander usually used pyramid composition in his early work which reminds of Egyptians as they used to make pyramids to be closer to the Gods. His earlier works are also reminiscent of the concept of divine power. Binqulander’s letters are ordinarily abstracted without figurative representations. He combines all the distinctive shapes of the characters with the fluidity of the whole, integrating the rhythmic nature of the signs without isolating them. As such, starting from the right, as the field of action, the characters unfold and move towards the left. Whereas the vertical movements represent the dimension of the Divine Essence, the horizontal movements of the letters correspond to change and the becoming, and consequently represent the Divine Attributes. The vertical aspect is seen to unite and signify the essence while the horizontal elements divide, by spreading out into multiplicity. Both are meant to reaffirm the oneness of being in which the Essence and the attributes of the Divine are one and the same. Binqulander’s intrinsic brush strokes add unused dimensions to the traditional notion of calligraphy, rather than focusing on the literal meaning of any alphabet or word. He opens up a new world of symbols related to gestures, which the viewer can openly interpret, “I am a trained calligrapher, and my brush strokes know the structure of each letter”. Predominating lines are curvilinear and diagonals. Our perception and interpretation is involved in several analyses, alternating between textual, abstract and geometrical analysis. Binqulander emphasis has been on the perception of the art of calligraphy as a subjective, offering an analysis of his works beyond mere visual elements. His view, from the beginning, is one that looks at both the outside and its physical relations intertwined with a vision directed towards an inner journey, blurring the dualism between object and subject. The viewer is presented with gestures that are emotional impressions of word, which by its nature is subjective and is meant to reflect a transcendental revelation. Maurice Merleau-Ponty deconstructs the opposition between subject and object, between the visible and the invisible and between the sensible and the ideal. He re-examines the subject-object relationship and look at both the perceiver and perceived as interdependent. This concept sees subject and object uniting dialectically within a more basic reality. According to Merleau-Ponty, words does not simply rely thought, it finalize and completes, it. Language as a domain of signification is embodied in Binqulander’s work as such soul and body becomes relative notions. The “narrativity” of Binqulander’s art is on the narrativity of world itself, and based on the concept that the mind is essentially “literary” in nature. According to Merleau-Ponty, the objective body and the phenomenal body constitute a reciprocal intertwining where the “seer and the visible reciprocate one another and we no longer know which sees and which is seen”.
In summary, Binqulander’s meticulous working method in calligraphic painting always sustains fascination. In Binqulander’s work the thought is not detachable from what is presented by the work. In other words the perceptions and the concepts are attached together. Perceptions are inseparable from the thinking and imagination that sees his painting. In order to properly assess the full measure of his achievement many of his paintings can be looked at as modern gestural works as well.
–Wardah Emaan Bukhari