About Us

Art has always been a part of my life; museums are my preferred places to visit; I can listen to art history lectures all day long; artists’ biographies are my favorite books to read because they bring to life for me the art they created, the places they lived, the times which shaped them and their art.

For all this passion about art, both emotional and intellectual, I had always been a passive participant in the world of art. And all my energies had been focused on Western art. Until now.

A suggestion by a very good friend (hat tip: Dr. R. A.!) started me on a journey of discovery to learn about the Pakistani art world. And what an amazing, vibrant, dynamic, evolving, exciting world it is! I invite you to join me on this journey as you browse our collection and get to know our artists. I promise: you will not be disappointed!

Our Name

“Mussavir” in Urdu means “artist”; in Arabic it means “one who forms, fashions, sculpts, imagines, or pictures something”. Other words derived from the same root as Mussavir are “tassavur” meaning “imagination”, “tasveer” meaning “picture, painting or portrait”, and the Urdu word “soorat” meaning “visage”.

Al-Mussavir is also one of the 99 names of God in Arabic, as He, being the supreme Creator, is also the supreme artist.

Some beautiful examples of the word “Mussavir” rendered in calligraphy.

Mussavir Fine Art

Our Logo

Created in the Diwani Jali style of calligraphy, it contains the Arabic/Urdu letters “suad” (in the upper demi-lune), “vow” and “ray” (both in the lower demi-lune). These are the 3 root letters from which the word Mussavir (as well as tassavur and tasveer) is formed.

The Diwani Jali script was developed in the 16th century at the Ottoman court. It is defined by its beautiful, curved letters and the ornamentation surrounding them. This script was used to write official Ottoman court documents, and was known to only a few masters.

The word “Mussavir” within the logo is written in the Garamond typeface. Garamond was originally issued in 1621 by the French printer Jean Jannon, and is similar to a group of earlier typefaces cut by another Frenchman, Claude Garamond, in the early 16th century.

In its totality, the logo is an admission of my fascination with, and love of, most things Turkish and French!

Our Philosophy

Vita brevis, ars longa. Thus begins the body of work called Aphorismi by Hippocrates, which was a compendium of the latest medical knowledge of the day. It meant that the craft of medicine takes a long time to learn, but the physician has a short time in which to learn it. Due to a mistranslation of the original Greek “techne” (meaning technique, craft) to the Latin “ars” and the subsequent English “art”, it has come to mean “life is short, art eternal”, the idea being that the life of the artist is brief, but his works live long after him.

Due to its origin with Hippocrates and its modern association with art, the aphorism appeals to me both as a physician and a lover of all forms of art, be it painting, sculpture, music, dance, literature, or poetry.

L0030310 Hippocrates, Aphorismi, manuscript, s.l. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org HIPPOCRATES {460-375 B.C.} Hippocrates, Aphorismi, manuscript, s.l. {Florence?}, n.d. {late 15th century}. Third leaf containing the opening text, the first aphorism within a decorated border in gold and colours, with a capital V in gold with ornamental background. Published: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Photo Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Hippocrates, Aphorismi, manuscript,
s.l.{Florence?}, n.d. {late 15th c.}.

Third leaf containing the opening text, the first aphorism, within a decorated border in gold and colours, with a capital V in gold with ornamental background. Collection: Archives and Manuscripts.
Library reference no.: WMS 353

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution Only license