| Aviation Art Gallery - S.M.A. Hussaini's Air Warriors
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WARRIORS - 50 YEARS of the PAKISTAN AIR FORCE 1947-1997
Captain Masood Akhtar Hussaini's paintings have always included both
dominant and tiny details that restore passionate links with the past
settings and events of the Pakistan Air Force. Hussainis brush has
traced this history between the PAF's infancy to its 50th anniversary
with painstaking fidelity, in a continuing tribute to the men and
women of the Air Force. The paintings reproduced in this book also
include his most recent work.
Hussaini paints the past for us with the ease of a pilot who might
have had the cockpit's view of all the bygone generations of the PAF
in their element, from the remote and dusty Miranshah to the bustling
and crowded Sargodha. The airman's world into which he transports the
viewer is not simulation. It is reality which summons up the trials
and travails as well as the joys of life under the Air Force flag.
Painting within a specialised field like military aviation can be very
challenging. The air force sky is not easily or frequently accessible
for reasons of high cost and safety. Close perspectives of high-g air
combat manoeuvres or low-level weapon deliveries cannot be experienced
without some exposure to risk. For these reasons the community of
military aviation artists around the globe is quite small. Most of
these artists have spent their lives in the close proximity of war
planes. That the beginning of Hussaini's career as a PAF officer
happened to coincide with the blossoming of his artistic flair can
only be described as a stroke of good fortune for the PAF.
The PAF did not 'discover' Hussaini. Soon after he joined his first
squadron the extraordinary skill of his early sketches simply
commanded attention. There was persistent demand for more as crew
rooms and offices began to display his work. Then came a stint with
the Royal Saudi Air Force where Hussaini's rapidly maturing talent
drew praise from Kieth Ferris, the visiting Art Director of the US Air
Force. In later years, Ferris was to become Hussaini's guide and
Recognising the artist's promise, the PAF provided the encouragement
it deserved. Hussaini was given the freedom and the surroundings
specifically suited to a professional artist. His work over the
following years testified to the good use he made of his Spartan yet
adequate facilities for work, travel and flying. It also demonstrated
the maturity of his art and his uncompromising research of each
subject he painted.
Two companion series on the PAF constitute Hussaini's most important
work so far. The first series of paintings preserves the history of
the early years of the PAF. The second collection recreates the high
points of the PAF's combat operations in the four wars it has fought.
Both groups, altogether some 113 works, are characterised by the
energy, exhilaration and drama they convey and represent a unique
endeavour that has taken Hussaini two decades.
Through art exhibitions and several publications, Hussaini is now
wellknown both in Pakistan and abroad. Outside the country, his
paintings are displayed in the air force premises of Jordan, Saudi
Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The American
Society of Aviation Artists has honoured him with their Fellowship. In
1987, the Government of Pakistan acknowledged his priceless
contributions as the Official Artist of the PAF by awarding him the
The PAF is lucky to have Hussaini. I believe the dedication that goes
into his paintings comes from a strong reciprocal sentiment.
- Air Chief Marshal Jamal A. Khan, NI(M), SJ, SBt, PAF (Retd)