Jamali was raised in the foothills of the Himalayas near the Khyber Pass. The son of prominent physicians, Jamali was sent to a British military academy at age 13. By the age of 16 he was expelled. For five years Jamali lived in the Rajhastan Desert among the Sufi, a people devoted to worship through dance. The Sufi"s belief in a life of inner calm and reflection was to have a great influence on the young Jamali and his future art.
Eventually, Jamali returned home and achieved degrees in Physics, Chemistry and Advanced Economics. Further exploration ensued, including time in the High Himalayas and extensive travel in Europe and eventually a migration to the U.S. By 1976, Jamali recognized his calling and devoted himself to a life of painting, discipline and meditation.
The perennial theme in Jamali's artwork is an inner search that is expressed in triumphal and mythic imagery, originating from his dream life. Jamali ritualizes this new mythology by dancing the paintings...in the midst of the elements...and natural world ...creating saturated esoteric paintings.
Preeminent art critic, Donald Kuspit, heralds Jamali as the originator of a school of painting he calls Mystical Expressionism. "This movement combines elements of the raw emotion of German Expressionism, the play of light in French Impressionism, and the abstract elements of American Abstract Expressionism in a new totality."
The Meaning Behind Jamali
Jamali's method of painting is its own unique chapter in the history of contemporary art. He paints out of doors, applying paint in a meditative dance, like the Sufi mystic's swirling prayer to God. He builds up his intense and complex surfaces over time, allowing the natural elements to interact with the paint and canvas. It often feels as if time and nature, not the artist, had created these deeply etched and layered surfaces.
The source of Jamali's art and his life lies in the primordial spiritual traditions of the East. In his birthplace Peshawar, the Asian crossroads city, Jamali drank in Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi ideas of the sacredness of being. He spent years of his youth with a mysterious desert people who still respect the shaman's powers. But he also studied modern physics and engineering. Jamali is the first to incorporate the paradoxes of quantum mechanics into contemporary art.
Through all these works, persistent themes and mythic imagery define a singular artistic vision. Jamali's paintings are inhabited by dream figures that appear and then fade away. Mothers, sons, lovers, and dream guides — these are the characters of Jamali's visionary cosmos. His hieroglyphs and inscriptions promise revelation without disclosing their truths easily. Always dwelling in the tension between image and abstraction, Jamali draws us toward "the beautiful resolution of opposing forces" — the moment of transcendence in which art coincides with peace.
Symbolism in Jamali’s Work-
Heart Shaped Head-indicates the importance of the “mother” spirit and the life force she provides us.
Floating Figure-References Jamali’s earliest guide visions which instructed him to paint.
Figure with Tilted Head- Symbolizes the removal of one’s ego and the ability of one to become enlightened through their chakras.
Figure with Chin Tilted Down- The person with complete self-actualization or an “old soul”. An individual who is able to look within his or herself to find the answers they seek.
Open Eyes v. Closed Eyes- The open eyes symbolize the person is open to receive spiritual enlightenment in opposed to the closed eyes which indicate the person is spiritually unavailable to receive enlightenment.
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