If you can make fire out of wood, you can also make pictures, carve a wooden flame, make art. `And so, Bugi’s craft was born in being realised.
Throughout his formative years, Bugi introduced himself, and was introduced, thought books, to Oriental Minatures and Eastern Woodprints. Born and raised in Lahore, Bugi was surrounded by objects steeped in tradition. He grew interested in the Kalash; an indigenous minority peopleing part of North Pakistan and Afghastan. Their art forms enthralled me, their wood and rock carvings. These carvings were sculpted by shepards marking the route of the silk trade from China, eastwards. In woodcarvings I felt the roots of trees. Through wood I touched my forefathers, felt the tree in myself, wished to maintain tradition.’
When Bugi was nineteen he went to the Soviet culture center in Karachi, where he discovered books on the great western artists. Names such as Jeryonomous Den Bosch and Michael Angelo entered his vison literally and aesthically. In his own words, first came wood, then paint; that sort of evolution.’
For the next fifteen years, Bugi worked for advertising agencies, where he developed, through graphics, a modern perception of visual expression. Eventually, the trough was full. Overspill. Bugi quit. He wanted to travel, to touch, sniff and breath other cultures. He went round the world twice, touching its four corners. Although the world is round, the eye has a corner. During his travels, Bugi felt the imponderable. Light takes those corners away, he says, filling the broad room of his smile.
In China he met and worked under Li Shou Ping in Guilin. Li was a fine landscape painter, who made Bugi sit on the floor, thus introducing him to the first position of traditional Chinese painting. The hand is the body. The hand in the body. The big before the small. Bugi had learned something. It was time to move on, leave the floor of the mountain and sail towards the unknown.
He arrived in Cuba after spending three and a half months in Indonesia. One day while walking in Santiago, Bugi saw a portrait of Che Guervera Lynch through the bars of a painless window. Who is the artist? he enquired. Roberto Gonzalez, his sister replied. She gave Bugi her brother’s address. Next day Bugi was on a bus heading for Matenza, where he made contact with Roberto and his acolytes. After spending four months in Cuba, Bugi, continuing his journey, arrived in Panama.
By the banks of the canal, he studied the technique of raising and lowering water levels. `The Mathmathics Of Sluice. Water finds its own level, sometimes with man’s assistance. Water and paint on canvas are no different. The two merge, flow as one, inseperatebly surfacing in the cornerless eye, like the fish in the canal coming up to the flood lights along its bank, coming up to dud-suns, dieing stars.
In New York, Bugi attended the museum of Modern Art and rediscovered surrealism. The man and his madness. A wooden flame will not burn unless lit From New York he travelled to New Orleans, Cajun Pie; then onto Norfolk Virginia…. O country roads take me home…then onto Paris and a dream come true; the history of impressionism, its colour and light; the ivy in the ditch not green but blue, the alder tree not brown, but pink; seeing things though, the endless eye looking at the finite, no corner cutting.
living in the Netherlands, where he attended art Academy, Bugi had been
somewhat dryly and rationally seen as a…… Culture Dog….
which is a long winded way of saying, Bugi is a craftsman, no fly by night gimmick-merchant, not out to impress something upon the eye but to engrain it in the memory. His themse is loss, loss of tradition, cultural upheaval, the Kalash being a prime example. In fact, Bugi’s theme is life, what is not left of it, what has yet to be, the here, the now. His sense of loss is also the exile in himself attempting to find unconcealment. Through his travels, his study, his roots, Bugi paints and shapes his own peice of ground,
far from home, to learn as Joyce says’ what the heart is and what it feels.`
Compiled by: Glenn Welker
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