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Painting - Mullah at Night

Mullah at Night

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1985 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sohail, born 1930 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in oil on board

  • Museum number:

    IS.38-1987

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Tassaduq Sohail was born in Jullundhar, East Punjab in 1930. After the partition of India, the artist fled with his family to Pakistan where he settled in Karachi. In the early 1960s Sohail moved to London and began taking drawing classes at Central Saint Martins School of Art. In his watercolours, the artist often ridicules mullahs, rabbis and priests by depicting them in compromising situations. Sohail has also produced many naive and fantastic landscapes where animals frolic and trees flourish.

In 'Mullah at Night', the artist pokes fun at the figure of the Mullah by placing him in a forest at night. Next to the Mullah we see a fish and above his head, in the surreal, nocturnal sky, a white dove.

Physical description

Painting, oil on board, abstract painting of a Mullah under the moon in a dark sky. From a conversation between the artist and the RWS, May 1987: 'his given name if Tanadiq Rasuk but he dislikes the significance of 'attachment to the prophet' and wants to change it. Sohail is hs tahhallus, referring to the star lanupus... He approves of the titles 'Mullah at night, Mullah looks at Life'. He says that the drawing is about how life in messed up by the Mullahs.'

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1985 (made)

Artist/maker

Sohail, born 1930 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in oil on board

Dimensions

Height: 22.5 cm framed, Width: 22.5 cm framed

Object history note

Purchased from the Horizon Gallery. Rp 87/801

Historical context note

Tassaaduq Sohail was born in India. He crossed to Pakistan in 1947 and studied psychology whilst publishing short stories. He came to Britain in the early 1960s and took drawing classes at Central Saint Martins School of Art in London. Both IS 37 1987 and IS 38 1997 were banned in Pakistan on religious grounds. In addition to his serious works he has been making portraits and spent time making sketches and studies on the nudist beach at Brighton. 'The two works purchased relate to the theme of the dislike of sexuality on the part of the Mullahs which along with stories heard in his childhood provides the subject matter of most of his work."

From conversation between the artist and RWS May 1987: "His given name is Tassaduq Sohail but he dislikes its significance of 'attachment to the prophet' and wants to change it. Sohail is his takhallus (pen-name in Urdu), referring to the star Canopus ... He approves of the titles 'Mullah at Night' and 'Mullah looks at Life'. He says that the drawing is about how life is messed up by the Mullahs."

A retrospective of the artist's work was held at the Noble Sage Art Gallery in London from 20 June-2 September 2007.

Descriptive line

Painting, 'Mullah at Night' by Sohail, painting, oil on board, London, ca. 1985

Production Note

Sohail was born in India, crossing to Pakistan in 1947 and studying psychology while publishing short stories. He came to Britain in the early 1960s and joined drawing classes at St Martins School of Art. In addition to his serious works, he has been making low cost portraits and spent time making sketches and studies on the nudist beach at Brighton.

Materials

Oil colour; Paint; Board

Techniques

Painted

Subjects depicted

Moon; Priest

Categories

Drawings; Paintings; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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