Last week Jimmy called me, “I’m here for a week, so I’d like to meet you and see what is going on in Islamabad.” It was great to hear his voice after 1982. Last time we met in Lahore, when my exhibition of paintings was opening next day in Shakir Ali Museum. He wanted to come to see if the work was being displayed properly, and approved how Mr. Bhatti had set it up. He particularly liked a landscape which he asked me to keep and sell when I’m famous. – Naturally, that was the first painting to sell! – I didn’t want to bet on becoming a famous artist anyway.
This is the kind of person Jimmy is: kind and helpful. He is not wrapped up in his own world, but wants to take others along with him also.
Jimmy was already becoming a big name in the seventies and early eighties. Why not? He is so focused and has always been so. The first time, I saw him, he was painting his ‘Independence series’, and I saw him at work, as a college student. The detail work of each leaf in a tree, or faces of each figure in large groups of human beings, is just amazing. I’ve known him, since my cousin Shahbaz Khan joined NCA in early seventies.
I knew he has a friend named Jimmy Engineer. Both had a similar style of work. Their work reflected the style of Rembrandt, Michael Angelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Painting in a realistic style, with subjects chosen from our times and situations. Sometimes, they’ve chosen historical events. Jimmy specialized in the Independence of Pakistan. His own family had moved to Pakistan in those infamous trains too. The style truly fits in with renderings of the shalwar and kameez with Chadars worn by the men and doputtas of women, the bare feet, the anguish on faces, the light and shade depicted realistically. The sizes of canvases chosen are huge. Usually 10 feet high 15 feet long. Jimmy has no limitations of any sort, in subject matter or style, delving even into modern abstract style .
“I’ve lived according to my own rules all my life.” He says. It is so true.
During the last few days, when I got to know him all over again, I found out the secret of his success. He is cool and calm, not to be perturbed by any hindrances at any level or scale. His focus on his work is all consuming. Yet he is aware of the work of others also. He is genuinely interested in those around him. But then, he wants them to also work as diligently as he does. “You have to work harder.” Was his remark when he saw my work.
You will find plenty of information on Jimmy’s work on his website www.jimmyengineer.com and the rest in the latest book on him which is over 600 pages. The price is fully justified when you see the number of color plates you get.
Born in 1954 to a Parsi family he has all their qualities of hard work and integrity and diligence. His observant personality is full of perception and concentration in his work. His willingness is there to use modern technology to spread and share the beauty of his work with everyone. He gets high quality prints made of his work on canvas or paper.
When he decided to join me to a family dinner that I was invited to, he said “don’t worry, they will be happy you brought me!” A household name today, he was right. Being a celebrity he just accepts it, and gets on with his life with it. He is very comfortable with his own fame.
Having met and had interaction with heads of departments, and heads of states, of many countries, he is fine with the social levels he interacts in. He knew Abdus Sattar Eidi well, and joined him for social work regularly.
Haroon Sharif, the host of the dinner, who works in World Bank said to Jimmy “we met long ago in early seventies, when I came to you to pick up a painting of yours being bought to be gifted to an Arab Sultan. It was for Rs.45,000/- . If that was so, I know that was quarter the price of a house in Lahore in those days!
Today, his paintings sell in over Rs. 100,00,000/- (just remove one zero if you want to know in dollars!) This is why he has prints of his work which he gifts all round, and puts up in public buildings like the Press Club in Karachi, National Art gallery, National Library of Pakistan in Islamabad and many other buildings.
List of awards received by Jimmy Engineers
Artist Jimmy Engineer has received many Awards and Medals in his long illustrious Art and Social Work Career since 1976. No other Pakistani Artist has received so many Honours. Apart from Medals and Awards he has received over 70 Shields of Honour by various Organisations all over Pakistan and Abroad. His Medals and Awards include the following.
- The All-Punjab Cultural Award in 1976.
- The All-Punjab First Prize in 1978.
- A Gold Medal in nation-wide Islamic Exhibition in 1978.
- A Gold Medal for the best performance in the Fine Arts by the Literary Society of Pakistan. (Bazme-Shua-e-Adab) in 1978.
- An Award by the Literary Society of Pakistan for best Artist (Bazme-e-Shua-e-Adab) in 1979.
- An Award in National Exhibition in 1981.
- An Award by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 1981.
- The National Award for Minorities in the Fine Arts in 1983.
- The Rotary Youth Leadership Award for outstanding performance in painting 1986 to 1987.
- The National Endownment of the Arts Award, USAin 1988.
- The Peshro Club Youth Award for the best Calligrapher in 1989.
- The New Age Leader Award for Humanitarian Service by the Galaxy of Youth in 1991.
- The Allama Mohammad Iqbal Memorial Award presented for outstanding performance in painting by Ghanchi Community in 1992.
- CAK Award presented for outstanding performance in painting by Catholic Association of Karachi in 1992.
- Gold Medal presented for outstanding performance in painting by Ghanchi Youth Council in 1993.
- An Award by the Pakistan Boy Scouts Association in 1993.
- An Award for humanitarian services by Ghanchi Community in 1993.
- Medal Presented by Society for the Welfare of Poor Patients (S .W.P) in 1993.
- Gold medal presented by International Cosmopolitan Rotary Club of Pakistan, for humanitarian services rendered in 1997.
- Human Rights medal was presented for humanitarian services rendered by the Human Rights Society of Pakistan in 2000.
- Life time achievement award for Humanitarian services by Karachi Welfare Citizen Organization in 2002.
- An award by Waqar-e-Adab a literary association was presented for life time achievement for social work in 2002.
- An award for social work by Hazrat Khawaja Fareed Sanghat Academy Pakistan in 2002.
- In the name of Allah award was presented for humanitarian services by Waqar-e-Adab a literary association of Pakistan in 2003.
- Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Civil Award) for Art from the Government of Pakistan in 2005.
- Award by Karachi Gymkhana for outstanding performance in Art and Humanitarian causes 2005.
- Gold Medal For Social Work Presented by Kalia Group (KRG) in 2006.
- The Peace Ambassador’s Medal by China World Peace Foundation Beijing 2016.Jimmy Engineer is such a dynamic personality that he is truly inspiring. Whatever field of work you are in, you feel totally energized by his focus and style of work. He makes you realize that nothing is a hurdle except one’s own mental hang-ups. His mindset puts an end to all issues, and his way of work is totally futuristic. He nullifies all those concepts about the ‘craziness’ of artists and how bad they are in dealing with the ways of this world. Though he says “I’m an artist, so I’m a bit crazy…. ” so, he jokes about himself too. His lifestyle of wearing simple clothes, and eating only when he feels hungry simplifies two of the most time consuming aspects of a person’s life. Seeing how far he has come till now, I’m full of anticipation to know what new horizons he plans to conquer next. Stay blessed, and inspired, my reader 🙂