Life in times of Coronavirus: Artist captures the changes in society on canvas
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
BHOPAL: It was a painting that depicted the plight of a poor family, leaving the city after the Covid 19 pandemic struck the world and the 'lockdown' was announced.
The painting caused a storm on social media and was widely shared by people who used captions like 'Gunaah passport ka tha, saza ration card ko mili', suggesting the fact that while the virus came from foreign countries via the rich who tooks flights to return, it was the poor who got affected the most.
Especially, daily wagers, who lost income, got stranded and were forced to leave to their ancestral towns and villages for no fault of their own. Faisal Mateen, a Bhopal-based artist, is the man who has been constantly painting different aspects of common people's life during the pandemic.
While on one hand, he has painted everyday life that has undergone a complete transformation after Covid 19, he has also painted real life incidents and brought to canvas the role of front line warriors and their stories, especially the doctors and nurses apart from others on duty in these critical times.
Mateen says that everything changed after the nationwide lockdown and when people started migrating, the images like that of a girl who had a pack of biscuits in her hand, and was standing with her father who was ready to walk over 1,600 kms to get back home, kept haunting him.
He has painted life in lockdown, the feelings during isolation, the outside view from a small window and a lot.
For example, the police official in Indore, a city that has one of the highest number of Coronavirus patients in the country.
After a gruelling day, the cop reaches home but sits outside the house, away from his family and can't meet his kid daughter.
Another painting shows the doctor who offers food to a patient who wanted a particular dish. Mateen, who lives in Bhopal, is well-known for painting landscapes, monuments and unique historical structures of Bhopal.
The structures that were built in the era when Bhopal was a princely state, and the natural scenic beauty of the region has been his area of expertise.
The series of paintings during the Coronavirus pandemic, are now getting attention. "The moment something catches my eye, I start giving it a shape on canvas", he says. Mateen, 51, had got his PG degree in fine arts from the Hamidia College in Bhopal. He has also worked as an art teacher in the Oak Grove School in Mussourie and is also the man behind 'Surma Bhopali', a cartoon character. He has over 30 group and solo exhibitions to his credit.