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Adnan Siraj, an artist par excellence

Adnan Siraj,
an artist par excellence

Doha-based Adnan Siraj is an internationally acclaimed military aviation professional artist from Pakistan who has an enchanting array of work to his credit. Squadron Leader (Retd) Siraj served Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as the official artist until his retirement. He has won many prizes and his work has been exhibited in several countries. His portfolio, which spans a wide range, is mostly based on the narration of historic aviation and military events. Over the years, he has found various techniques to make magnificent masterpieces. His work has been recognised internationally by some of the world’s renowned military and aviation artists. He is a member of the Qatar Fine Arts Society and won the first prize in their annual realistic painting competition in 2018. Besides, his work has been on display since 2015 in all their annual exhibitions. He was selected by the Fire Station Gallery for their summer residency mentorship programme in 2018. In an interview with Qatar Tribune, Siraj spoke about his passion for painting. Excerpts.
Tell us about your background and what led you to your current work.
I had fascination with the fighter jets of air force for as long as I remember. This passion led me to join the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), one of the best air forces of the world. Besides primary duties, I kept fulfilling my desire to paint these jets and their fighter jockeys on canvas. Later in service I was designated as the official artist of the PAF by the chief of the air staff.
What contributions have you made in projecting the image of PAF?
I have made some significant contributions to the PAF in projecting its image and preserving its history. Some of these innovative design creations include, the color schemes of different PAF aircraft for national ceremonies including the JF-17 Thunder in China/Pakistan flag, historical events of different PAF flying squadrons and titles of various PAF books and magazines.
Did you receive some professional training?
No, I am a completely self-taught artist. My passion and hard work led me to explore my style.
At which places have you exhibited your paintings so far?
My paintings have been selected twice in a juried exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London and some of them hang in the military premises of the USA, the UK, China, Sweden, Qatar and Turkey.
Besides this, my paintings have been presented as souvenirs to national and international dignitaries including the Qatar Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, former President of Pakistan General (Retd) Pervez Musharaf and former Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani.
What are the subjects of your paintings other than military and aviation?
Besides military and aviation subjects, I like to paint landscapes, seascapes, falcons and horses.
What motivates you to paint?
The beauty of my subjects tempts me to paint them on canvas and the satisfaction I get is indescribable.
What is your favourite medium of painting?
I have worked in all the mediums of paintings but my favourite is oil.
Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events?
Yes , being member of the Katara Fine Arts Association, I am continuously contributing towards their cultural events and exhibitions.
What are your future plans?
I have established a group of Pakistani artists based in Doha. It goes by the name of “Pak Artists Qatar”. We want to bring laurels to the name of our beloved nation and also project its rich culture through our paintings.