Warm and Harmonious Vibe in an Art-Filled Home

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A foliage-filled entrance, with a quaint art-deco mirror nestled in the greenery, beckons visitors  through a beautifully carved wooden door into the home of Rashid Maqsood and Meena Hamidi. Rashid’s keen eye for art and antiques and Meena’s love of gardening come together to create a harmonious and character-filled home. Lined with fascinating collectibles and striking art, the light-filled rooms exude a warm and welcoming vibe. The meticulously curated rooms retain a lived-in and homely feel.

A self-professed ‘Reluctant Banker’, (which is also the title of a short collection of stories about his banking years) Rashid Maqsood has been collecting art and antiques since the eighties. The HomeLoveLifestyle team spent a lovely morning chatting with the couple and viewing all the art on display.

So tell us about your fascinating collection of objects.

Although I was banker by profession, my interests lay everywhere else…in music, art etc. But as a banker I have travelled and lived in many countries. We lived in Caracas, Venezuela for many years and there I became interested in the local art and antiques. I would go to estate sales and pick up wonderful paintings or even watches, cufflinks etc. I still love scouring antique shops here in Karachi too.

art-filled home

It doesn’t always have to be very high level antiques. And the way I have displayed my collection is inspired by the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, which was created by the novelist Orhan Pamuk. Objects are assembled in such way that they tell a story. For example, this guest room has some family memoribilia. The bottle of Old Spice on the dresser was the cologne used by my father, there are some vintage family photos here and the trunk is the kind that was used by my family when they came to Pakistan in 1958. I also have this pair of shoes that I purchased at an exorbitant price (half my salary then).

There is my collection of lighters, daggers, the horned helmet and so many interesting things. Many have been passed down in the family, like this pot. This carved wooden bar is an antique Peruvian piece I picked up in a junk shop.

You have a lot of impressive art as well. How did you build the collection.

art-filled home

Actually, when we moved to Caracas from Bahrain in the eighties, the container carrying all our art and furniture was ransacked. I lost paintings by Sadequain, Jamil Naqsh and Ahmad Pervaiz amongst others. So I had to start all over again.

art-filled home

When I returned  to Karachi in the nineties, that’s when I  started seriously buying art. It was the post Zia era and a lot of good work was being done, the NCA was flourishing. Many of the artists whose work I bought then are now selling for exorbitant sums at auction houses in Europe; Salman Toor is one.

art-filled home

But I don’t go to galleries or hobnob with artists. I do follow the work of the young artists coming out of  NCA which has a very impressive miniature department. It has produced some fine artists.

These are doors mounted on the wall painted by Anwar Maqsood?

art-filled home

Yes, they are the doors of an old cupboard that was in a previous home. Anwar is my cousin and he thought it looked very dull and painted on them. When I moved here, I placed the doors on the wall.

I can spot work by artists like Muhammad Ali Mirchi, Adeel uz Zaffar and Maria Khan.

art-filled home

Yes.  There is a wide range from MF Hussain and Anna Molka to Olivia Fraser (wife of William Dalrymple) and digital prints by Sajjad Ahmad to old etchings… the collection ranges from very old classical paintings I bought in South America to modern contemporary art. This is a painting of Venezuelan statesman Simon Bolivar in his youth.

And this film poster?

art-filled home

That’s a film I made. It’s a short film called 1978 and it premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. Since then it has been screened in 25 festivals. I told you I was a reluctant banker. (laughs) Actually, I always wanted to be a film maker.

What is the film about?

It is a chapter in the life of a musician Norman D’Souza (who is a real person by the way) in the Zia-ul-Haq era during the clamp down on social and cultural life. I am currently developing the script for another film.

This study that we are sitting in has to be your favourite room.

art-filled home

Yes. In the morning I read and write here. Actually Meena and I both sit here till lunch.I had these bookshelves made for this room and I have sorted all the books by subject and author.

The sofas here are also quite unique.

They are! They are actually under copyright of Oxford University; I think they have these in their dorms.

Does your wife manage to get a say in the home decor?

Of course, she has developed quite a sense and I ask her opinion. And we decide on furniture and such together. But she does all the gardening and has the veritable green thumb.

And this lovely outdoor patio. Do you use it often?

We do. Especially in winter but even in summer, Karachi evenings are pleasant.

Photography by Naeema Kapadia