My name is Shah. I am a Sindhi.
My people have lived on these shores for centuries, thousands of years maybe.
Caravans have come from Baluchistan to the Sindh, to Punjab, to Rajasthan, to Gujarat and back since the beginning of Time.
Me? I’m just a fisherman.
My father taught me my trade when I was a little boy. Now I fish every morning to feed my family. We live in the village up the cliff. The Bara Sahib took my picture the other day. When he and the Memsahib will be gone, I shall keep on fishing. Every morning. And so will my son. And then his son. Forever in Time.
“The old fisherman.” Hawkes bay, Karachi, Pakistan, 1949. The source of this sketch is a Black and White photograph my father (the Bara or burra Sahib) took of an old fisherman in Pakistan 2 years after the Partition. My parents had just arrived in Karachi. They stayed for 8 years, until my little sister and I were born, completing the 2 centuries cycle of my Family in India.
Shukriya, thank you, for flying Equinoxio Airways’ Time-Space shuttle. Phir milenge, be seeing you.
65 thoughts on “The fisherman”
Wonderful I really enjoyed this thank you it was really inspiring thank you it makes you see another point of view on everything
Wonderful! Thank you for sharing the evolution of your art and for sharing this part of your history!
“art, art” T’es trop gentille. Je gribouille. A +
Arrête! J’aime tes gribouilles!!
This is great! 🙂 You took up drawing again?
Coming from you I am honoured… 🙏🏻 I don’t draw every day. (I should maybe). I have my moments. Won’t draw for a few weeks, then start 3 or more drawings at the same time. And switch from one to the other. This is the second of a series of three.
I need to practice movement. I feel my drawings are too… stiff.
How have you been Mel? All well?
Ah yes, practice is key. I am still trying to force myself into the habit to start with warm up sketches first before drawing what I want to draw. Once you are warmed up it gets easier. I have actually been quite busy. Was on holiday and came back with a ton of ideas of what do draw and do and started another book project 🙂
Warm up sketches? Hmmm. I might try it though I seem to have so little time to draw I’d rather draw directly. Now since I “split” my drawing, it helps. I generally spend 10-15 minutes drawing, then leave it then come back. But I think I already told you that.
Where was your holiday?
Greetings from Paris… 🙏🏻
The circle of life. How wonderful to feel this continuum through time, Brian!
Very true. I hadn’t thought about it exactly this way. I actually only recently understood the fact that my family had lived in India for 2 centuries. My ancestor Pierre-Rémy Onraët arrived in India in 1794. Married a French girl who was born in INdia already. She came form a family of Indigo planters and French officers. Long time ago.
Family history is so interesting.
Our ancestors went to the end of the world, right? Yours and mine. (Well, mine not so far…)
I often think what went through their minds as they travelled. They were courageous, or perhaps a little ignorant of what they were taking on. Despite this, both yours and mine flourished. I cannot think how I would cope going to the other side of the world, knowing not the language or customs, establishing a successful shop and string of hotels and writing eloquent advertisements in papers within 3-5 years of arrival in the county as nothing more than a young Danish peasant.
They were brave people… We must honour their memory…
I didn’t realize that your family been in India that long.
I hadn’t either, until I started digitalizing my father’s writings. Since the 1700’s. Servants of the Empire… 😉
I look forward to reading more of your family’s history.
It is a load of work. My father’s text is about 20,000 words in French. I need to edit his text, make it more… agile? Then translate to English. At least a few weeks’ worth. Plus half the movies to edit… Not sure I can do it all this year. Will let know.
Great memory and artwork. Always so interesting and meaningful.
Thank you. I’d been wanting to draw the old fisherman for a while. Mixed a few subjects and photos. Made for a nice composition. I took my first steps on that beach… A little while back. 😉
I enjoyed the fisherman’s life story and seeing how the drawing took shape. I like how the final drawing turned out. Is the color done in watercolor? Of the drawings, I like the first sketch the best, how Shah appears to be emerging from the paper.
Thank you Liz. It is watercolour. It’s what I was taught by my mother. She didn’t teach me oil which I now regret. Maybe I’ll have a try some day. Or acrylics… The first sketch? Yes, as you can see the expression changes in all my drawings. The eyes are always the most difficult.
You’re welcome, Brian. We’re suffering through a heat wave at the moment, but the weather will break by this weekend.
Yeah I heard that. But I thought it was more on the West coast and Canada… Hang in there
Lovely story and sketches Brian.
Salamat Arlene. 🙏🏻 How have you been? All well I hope? I must confess I have hardly visited anyone lately. Shame on me…
Doing good Brian, thank you.
Lovely progression. It was clear already in the first phase that he was a fisherman. 🙂
I love this, so expressive.
Thank you. You’re only too kind Paul.
Your drawings are so good, Brian! 🙂
Your only too kind Aiva… 🙏🏻
(I see you are traveling again. 👍🏻)
Your sketches, paintings are great Guglu, what is this 2 century cycle?
Dhanyavaad Trisha. 🙏🏻
My family lived in India for 200😎 years, since the mid 1700’s. In Chandernagor, Calcutta, Agra, Gwalior. My grandmother was born in Jowra (Howrah now?)
Hawke’s Bay beach? Never been to Pakistan. Lovely picture.
Thank you Ally. It was nice to paint it. many memories embedded. Real or imaginary.
Honestly? Wow! Our ancestors might have met! 🙂
Quite possibly. A great-great uncle of mine ran a steamer on the Hoogly river…
Yes, I get it: memories. It has a soothing effect, the painting.
I’ve known the picture all my life. Then, when I enlarged it to sketch, I realized the background was my parents’ first beachouse. Jus a corner of it. That’s when I decided to do a different background, the camels on the beach, which I’ve seen in many of my mother’s 8mm movies. (Invented memories)
That’s why I wondered how there could be a dessert next to the sea?:-)
It is weird, but happens. The desert of Sindh does go all the way to the sea.
Reblogged this on Indie Adda and commented:
Trip down memory lane and gorgeous pix.
wonderful art and story. thanks.
De nada. Bonito Domingo Rebe.
It’s a heart wrenching and beautiful tale touching the heart. The picture story captures our senses, the pain and sorrow.
Thank you kindly. Means the sketch and story reached their goal. 🙏🏻
Story and drawings made for a culture rich humanity story
Thank you. My apologies for such a late answer. Your comment was pending. I don’t know why WP does this? Take care…
Such a beautiful concept. Haven’t seen such a unique blog elsewhere, loved the idea. Best of luck for future blogs. I’ll be looking forward to.👌👍
Thank you so much. Those sketches are pleasant to do. Even more pleasure when they are well received. 🙏🏻
Had no idea you were an artist Brian! Love the progression of your sketch to the final full colour frame. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to return to Karachi to re-connect with the descendants of the people in your father’s photographs?
Thank you Madhu. Though I wouldn’t say “artist” I just dabble with pencil, ink and water colours. My mother was a much better “artist” than I ever will be, though I’m grateful for her teachings.
I hadn’t thought of going “back” to meet them. I do think about the cook who taught me Urdu and good manners. But how do I find descendants of an “Ahmed Shah”? It would be like looking for a John Smith in the UK.
Ha true. Unless it’s a small village and you had an address to begin with.
Yeah. And even then the address might be the house with blue doors at the end of the village… 😉
Excellent! Nice to see your drawings!
Thank you. Coming from you I am flattered. 🙏🏻