Remembering Anna Molka Ahmad
By Professor Dr. Saadat Saeed Urdu Department
By Professor Dr. Saadat Saeed Urdu Department
Molka Ahmad was an extraordinary national and international personality in the
field of fine arts especially painting.
she is no more with us but due to the creative work to her credit her name will
be remembered for ever. She was the founder of Fine Arts Department, of the
Punjab University, Lahore. Many of her pupils like Iqbal Hussain, Colin David,
Abrar Termizi, Ghulam Rasool, Shahnawaz Zaidi and Javed Iqbal have achieved
greatness in their own artistic fields. Her large size paintings entitled
Resurrection, Dance of Death, Dream of Hell, ‘Dream of Heaven’ were
marvelous. Her paintings delineating the issues and situations emerged during
periods concerning the Division of India and 65 War are full of striking
details. She used to treat her subjects boldly. Her grand paintings contain
sparks of her domineering and impressive personality. Her impressionistic
technique blended with expressionistic tones and shades made her work unique.
The suggestiveness of her knife was creative. She chose knife to paint in
preference to smooth brushes and made her style so unique that the audience
could do nothing but stand and wonder. The style originated by her was so
unusual in its essence that art critics declared her work far better than the
work done by most of her contemporary artists. Anna Molka's multi- cultural
background made her viewpoint vast and liberal.
studies in the fields of history of arts and architecture, technical methods of
sculpture, art appreciation, techniques of paintings and pigments and technical
methods of graphics art, were exceptionally good.
Molka used the media of drawing, painting, graphic arts, sculpture and design.
She was known as an expert in the domain of still life, animal nature and
figures. She used the media of water colour, gouache, fresco, tempera, oil, wax,
mosaic to paint and produce unique portraits, still life, landscapes, figure
compositions and animal paintings.
students and artists learnt from her the techniques of copper engraving,
etching, dry paint, aquatint, wood-cut, wood-engraving, lithography. In the
field of sculpture she was fond of modeling and plaster casting. Abrar Termizi
and a few other artists told me that she was a great master of all the basic
techniques of fine arts. Many students followed her in the world of designing.
She was quite good in teaching basic design, fashion drawing, costume designing,
textile designing, pottery designing, book illustration, lay out and typography,
lettering and calligraphy, and advertising designing etc
an art critic she wrote many articles and books to promote the traditions of
real art in Pakistan and abroad.
was also famous for her impressionistic studies. An art critic says: “the term
impressionism or impressionist painting describes a kind of painting which is
flecked and somewhat formless as opposed to that which is linear and clearly
silhouetted it is applicable to many epochs. The term impressionism however
applies to a particular late 19th century style centering in Paris. There are
several examples of pre-19th century impressionism in most of which the loose
brush work is exhibited only in certain details or areas and does not become a
universal fabric of the painting. Although subject matter is generally less
important than the mode of execution in impressionism it can be said that
impressionists invented a new genre of the big city and of Sunday in the country
or on the beach. It is a distinctly middle - class and urban landscape. These
starving artists confident in the validity of the material world gave a poetic
form to the good life and to the leisure hours thought to be within reach of
Pissarro, Sisely, Manet, Monet, Degas, Boudin, and Renoir etc are considered to
be the great impressionists. The poet hidden in Molly Bridger (Molka's early
name) forced her to become an impressionist.
Zaidi Chairman of Fine Arts Department Punjab University Lahore writes: “She
herself was an outstanding painter and sculptor. She depicted intensively in her
paintings Pakistani culture, everyday life, festivals, and rituals. She was
completely fascinated by bright sunshine and luminous colors in Pakistan and
used to paint them in her particular emotional style. She was known as a
courageous human being and fiery painter. She created hundreds of paintings and
remained involved in art till her last breath. Her poetic collection has been
published recently. She chose this media of expression only due to her
deteriorating health since last few years as her restless personality was
hankering after continuous expression of herself. She really was the founder of
art education in Pakistan."
told us (the scribe and Abrar Termizi) during a meeting at her place last year
that she had developed a creative inquisitiveness in early age. She also studied
literature, music and other fine arts. She was of the opinion that it is not
possible in Pakistan to earn ones bread through any art. She was a popular
teacher. Her pupils feel great reverence and respect for her. Abrar Termizi told
me that under her guidance he learnt many useful techniques of modern paintings.
She never thought to be settled in her real homeland and chose Pakistan for ever
to live. Her devotion for Pakistan was exceptional.
her students and visitors she used to talk about the future of art in Pakistan
which of course was not bright for her. She
was an expert in her subject. Talking to her we felt she possessed endless
knowledge. Her soul was fired with the real zest for learning, and she was
always a source of inspiration for the seekers of knowledge.
Molka Ahmad created a new path and a new way of looking at objects. Throughout
her life her broad vision continued to expand.
was a great admirer of new movements in art. Like Sadequain and many other
artists she was convinced of the reality that the creative self can choose any
form to express itself. Besides paintings many great painters chose poetry for
their unexpressed passions. Anna Molka also wrote poetry. A collection of her
poetry entitled Poems containing 56 poems has been published recently by Print
House Lahore. In these poems her impressionistic self seems to be at its peak.
New orientations of many old passions such as love, hate, jealousy, sadness,
loneliness and affection can be seen in her poems. She believed that artists who
embraced modernism had distinct fascinations of their own. She always encouraged
new ideas and new styles. Her students told the scribe that her guidance was
perfect and she used to float unique and precious ideas for further inquiries.
They admire and love her.
we study Anna's paintings in detail we come to know that her mode of expression
is captivating. Like other impressionists, subject matter even for her was
generally of less important. Her landscapes, portraits and paintings projecting
still life are superb in impression. Lahore and its life seem to haunt her. She
loved to paint solitude, loneliness, alienation, mannerism, sufferings and
sadness in the perspective of urban landscape. Most of her paintings symbolise
materialistic life around us. She painted poetry and wrote sceneries. Her
colours were bright and strokes fascinating.
always desired for an art museum in her name in Pakistan where her work could be
exhibited. Her fans maintain the same opinion and request the present government
to take special interest in constructing Anna Molka’s Art Museum in Lahore. It
was her last dream.