Buzkushi, oil on canvas, signed and dated '65 lower left, further signed, dated, titled and location inscribed Gulgee."Buzkushi."/Karachi.Pakistan./1965 on reverse, framed, 83.5 x 114cm (32 7/8 x 44 7/8in).
Provenance: Private Collection, USA; acquired directly from the artist in Karachi, Pakistan in 1965.
Ismail Gulgee, who in the 1960s began experimenting with abstract painting inspired by Islamic calligraphy, is primarily known for his colourful abstractions. The work in question is from an earlier period in the artist's career in which he was employing impressionist techniques. It was this method of lose paint application characteristic of the Impressionistic style that created the base for his later works.
The painting shows some seventeen riders, mainly on grey horses, tussling for possession of a goat. The aim of Buzkashi, a game originating from Afghanistan, is to pick up the carcass of the beheaded goat or lamb while on horseback and, keeping other riders at bay, gallop down the playing field to pitch the carcass across the goal line. As in his calligraphic works "his quest seems to be movement, to capture the essence of energy and transmit it through a medium both evocative and long-lasting". ('The Complete Artist,' A.A. - Cover Story, Gulf Weekly, 24-30 October, 1991 reproduced in: Eric Gibson, Gulgee, Pakistan 2000, pg 22)