Bugi combines tradition and surrealism

By Joyce van Zijl


The Pakistani artist M.Bugi is going to give an exhibition of his paintings in February, 2009, at the Municipal Office Building. On Wednesday, February 4th, Municipal Councillor Mr. A. Adank, will open this remarkable exhibition, which can be visited during the opening hours of the Municipal Office Building. It will be a special exhibition, because Mr. Bugi wants to exhibit all his works on the floor.

Bugi has exhibited his works many times already, but rarely the way he would have liked best. This exhibition will be very close to his wishes, because all his paintings will be lying on the floor. This way he would like to show about 200 works to his public. For him, it would have been perfect, if he could worked on paintings during the opening hours, but unfortunately, this has turned out to be impossible.


Bugi is a member of the BOA movement, i.e. the Breda Association of Professional Artists. He is quite proud of BOA.

“I think that there is no less creativity within BOA than there was and is within the COBRA movement. It would be great, if BOA would achieve the same fame and reputation.”

Working, surrounded by the public

“I like it best to show my public how I work. I like working with people around me. This way, people can see what it takes to make a painting, for example. Last year, I worked in the town of Ginneken. A nine year old boy came up to me to have a very close look at my work. His mother called him back, but I didn’t mind at all. I gave him a brush and he helped me. That way, I try to make art more accessible for the people. It shouldn’t be a process hidden away in the enclosure of an art studio, without anyone being able to see what is happening.”

Atour de Vincent

Bugi has participated several times in “Atour de Vincent”, an art happening in the town of Zundert.

“I love the people of Zundert. Their reactions are incredible. Once, I was working more than 40 hours at a time and in the middle of the night this elderly lady came in and brought me some coffee. And Annie, who runs a chips shop there, gave me a breakfast of chips at 7.00 AM! This is quite different from the City of Breda, where, unfortunately, the general atmosphere is much more impersonal. I for me just love to have a chat with the public.”


Bugi has two children of his own. In his very past, which is very rich of experience, he has already worked with and for children a lot. He has worked for UNICEF in an encampment for Vietnam refugees, where he put up painting projects for the children. Also at the “Krabbenbossen”, he worked with children and last year, he participated in the “Art In Action” project. Together with the art class of the Baronie College, he made a piece of art, which is now hanging at the façade of the Baronie College building at the Terheijdenseweg.

Broad education

Bugi was born in Pakistan, where he got his art education at the Lahore Art Academy. After that he expanded his art development working in Sri Lanka, where he studied temple art and mask making.

In China, he studied traditional painting art and calligraphy. Bugi has worked in more than 35 countries all over the world.

For thirteen years, he has lived in the Netherlands. He is married to a Dutch lady and they have two children. In Breda, he studied art at “de Beeldenaar” and “Sint Joost.”
Tradition and surrealism

Bugi is mainly inspired by traditional Pakistani art.

“About every three years, I return to the tradition. This inspires me a lot. From this tradition, my imagination develops and my work becomes more surrealistic. At this exhibition, there is a painting in which Prince Siddharta is the central figure. From the figure of Siddharta, all kinds of other figures evolve. A part of this painting has been done in the style of Jackson Pollock. Constantly, new figures are evolving; I have worked on this painting for about three years. It is a combination of techniques.

Combination of symbolisms

In his work, Bugi does not only use traditional oriental figures, but also symbolism from the West.

“I think it is a pity, that people in the West are inclined to think that civilisation started with the Greek and Roman civilisations. Long before, there were great cultures in the Orient, which is all too easily forgotten over here. Especially now, when people increasingly dislike everything oriental and islamic. I very much dislike the ever increasing intolerance. We all have to make it in this world together, so why can’t we make a combinatin of all the good aspects of all cultures?

Municipal Office Exhibition

As has been said, it will be a very special exhibition. Bugi has waited for more than three years to set up a big exhibition like this one.

“By laying my works on the floor, I can make everyone walk past them and show much more of them. The building is quite fit for this. Unfortunately, I can’t paint there myself during opening hours. I would have liked that. But I’ll try to be there a lot, because I like to listen to the reactions of the public.”

Next to his paintings, etches, lithographs, drawings and linocuts, a poem by Mr. Bugi is on display.

“It is in English, though. My (Dutch) teacher has tried to translate it into Dutch, but it didn’t work out very well.”

Bugi has set up quite a few exhibitions. His work has been on display for 5 times at “De Nieuwe Veste” (The New Fortress) and also in The Hague, Rotterdam and Maastricht. His very unique and special way of working deserves tobe seen by a large public. He himself wants to keep the road towards art as easy going as possible and the Muinicipal Office Building is the exhibition place to be in this respect.

On February 4th, at 4.00 PM, the exhibition was opened by Municipal Councillor, Mr. Adank. Throughout the month of February, Mr. Bugi’s works can be seen without entrance fee to the exhibition during the opening hours of the Municipal Office Building.

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Compiled by: Glenn Welker

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