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July 16, 2024
Art & Culture

**Rafique: A Painter of Silence**


Rafique, a young painter from the small village of Satwas in Madhya Pradesh, went to the Indore School of Art to study arts. This was when I first met him. A brilliant boy, he was interested in poetry and literature, loved music, and was trying to find his relationship with this unknown world, which seemed as far away as the shining stars. He was a good listener and an observant person. These two qualities helped him significantly in forming a strong relationship with the world unknown to him.

He remembers his readings from those days, although he was not sure which path to follow. He was a good landscape artist and enjoyed doing portraits, which his classmates often neglected.

Coming from a Sufi faqir family, he listened to Qawwalis sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and tried to understand the meaning of nothingness. Humble, polite, and down-to-earth, Rafique completed his studies and entered the world of art.

He used to draw a lot and somehow got influenced by geometry. He absorbed the colors that exist in nature and appreciated their purity and freshness. The relationship and co-existence of these colors inspired him. Later, he discovered that these combinations worked well with geometry. During his studies, he happened to see works by a French artist named Garibo, which helped him understand the language of his own work.

Rafique paints with love and affection—love for painting and affection for the colors. One can feel that the juxtaposition of colors in his work is neither simple nor administrative. They invite you to come and travel with the lines to experience the unfolding relationship between two seemingly opposite color tones. These tones never reveal their mystery. They become more silent, allowing you to become part of them. You cannot feel the simplicity and complex construction of these beginnings of a labyrinth. It’s a kind of netting that exists in Rafique’s imagination. His work is not about representation but revelation. I believe that his purity of Sufi thinking is the core of these paintings. He paints as he loves nature. He expresses himself like the silent walk of a faqir. He is present without any claim and is there for everyone who cares for and loves this existential world, yet he doesn’t belong to it.

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