Ali Abbas paints the people of Thar. Men and Women of this culturally rich people are shown in their natural setting dancing, working, migrating or resting. Abbas uses watercolors to create the rich heritage of Thar, occasionally using other mediums and techniques to create the effect of shadows, breeze and movements – in the composition.
His drawings and paintings conveys realism portrayed with dignity and compassion. There is a touching simplicity in the delightful cameos he produces, often highlighted by carefully rendered areas of bright coloration. His subjects appear as transitory figures sheltering in temporary abodes, nomadic and wandering according to seasons and circumstances. The brushstrokes on painting are suggestive of dust storms or perhaps a symbol of the difficulties faced by the Nomadic tribes. The artist details his subject with respect and compassion, the forms are graceful, the faces sensitively delineated, one discovers hands and feet faultlessly portrayed – the sign of a true artist.
Abbas captures with liveliness and heartfelt feelings of their moment to moment existence. They live at the mercy of nature, which brings about drought, famine, and rain governing their way of living. Abbas has focused on Thar as a bare reality. His palette is close to reality concentrating on sandy atmosphere and situations arising out of sand storm. The bright colored dresses and amulets of women folk also remain under the spell of sand. His canvases are not simple statement; they also witness his excellent drawing skills, and painterly sensibility which he has gained through practice over the past two decades.
Ali Abbas is a comparatively young artist among the painter of Thar Desert. The most senior amongst them is the late Lal Mohammad Pathan, a son of the soil, who painted life in Thar in his cubist style. Moazzam Ali paints Thar through female figures in watercolor. A clay pitcher on his canvases serves as a reference to Thar. The third prominent artist, Ahmed Zoy handles Thar in his individual style. Athar Jamal also paints the same subject with watercolor. The Lahore based artist, Ahmed Zoy colors his canvases lavishly in depth and appearance. His Thar women bear a resemblance to heavy bodied women of Punjab. Based in Lahore, a painter with gypsy spirit combines the two elements aesthetically on his canvas with bright colors.
An exhibition of watercolor paintings titled “Gurd Baad” (Dusty Wind) by Ali Abbas was held at Clifton Art Gallery, Karachi on 10th March 2011. In which his thirty paintings were displays were displayed.