In the era of computer, we have virtually neglected and almost forgotten the typewriter, which has created masterpieces of arts too. Yes, it is hard to believe but a truth, which cannot be denied. As living evidence, we put forward the name of Iqbal Fareed Mysoori, born in 1941, Mysore, Karnataka, India, as a great typewriter artist of the world, who made eye-catching portraits by using a common manual typewriter.
The history of typewriter art begins with its birth itself. The typewriter had become a medium of Art as an artistic instrument since marketed by E. Remington & sons, gunsmiths of Ilion, New York in 1874. The first ever-found typewriter artist was Flroa F.F. Stacy an English woman who swinged her fingers on the keyboard of the typewriter to carve a butterfly in 1898, more than a century ago.
Some more artists followed her footprints. Nevertheless, in 1920s renowned artists such as Josef Albers, the great German painter, H.N. Workman the Dutch painter-typographer, and Stephi Kiester, wife of renowned Austrian architect Frriedrich chose the typewriter. In 1930s, Pole Stefan Themerson used the typewriter for portraying wife Fransizka. In 1950s and 1960s, the typewriter switched to concrete poems. These were composed with a combination of verbal’s and visuals embracing the international concrete poetry movements. Stefan Themerson (1950s) Emmett Williams (1960s) are the prominent artists to be mentioned as evidence. Reinhardt Dohl and Timm Ulrichs termed their creation as condensation. Other worth mentioning names are Jeremy Adler, Donato Cinicolo, Claus Bremer, Zorak Popovic, Iqbal Fareed Mysoori, Klaus Peter Dencker, and Robert Morgan.
Iqbal Fareed Mysoori started his journey as a typewriter artist in the land of Tipu Sultan [the great freedom fighter] at a quite early age of 18. His first portrait of Jawaher Lal Nehru [ the first prime minister of India] was on a borrowed typewriter, as he could not afford to have his own. The magical fingers did create the masterpiece in the form of Nehru’s Portrait in 1964; it was revealed to the world that art does not know confinement. It knows the artist, his creative potentials, and the effort of re-production.
The first appreciation came from the head of the institution he learned typing. When the portrait was displayed in the ‘Mysore Dashahrah Exhibition’s Art Gallery’ the wide applause came from the visitors, Juries, journalists, contemporary artists, and all those who understood the art and the artist. It was more than any reward he could get for his first creation.
There after Iqbal Fareed never looked behind just left the footprints for others to follow. His first portrait depicted Nehru without cap, brawn on his forehead, emerging wrinkles, and flashing left eye, right hand closer to chin, brought the statesman alive thinking for the Nation. The young artist used the first prominent letter ‘N’ of Nehru in carving the inner personality of the great dynamic leader of the world. The semi ball headed Nehru appears the life through gloomy smiles and stressed veins of the left end of his forehead, which showed his deep concern to lead the second largest populated democratic Nation.
Then came the father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi re-incarted by the magical fingers of Iqbal Fareed Mysoori. Every light and shade and tone effect reproduced Mahatma’s Aatma (sprit); every curve was the real Hindustan (India). The long and prominent ears appeared hearing all agony and pain of the common man, which made his eyes thoughtful, face bloomy, forehead hopeful, lips uttering the guidance to one and all, which can be read through the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. The admirers wrote, printed, published, and praised Iqbal Fareed for his masterpiece creation.
By this time, the young man was matured. His inner self which is having a soul of Urdu poet searched for a true genuine Indian poet having the vision of having the vision of Gnaga-Yamuna culture and philosophy of Indianness none could match other than Mirza Ghalib alone, the third masterpiece was born. Mirza Ghalib (the great Urdu Poet) in his humbleness has foreseen this phenomenon, who considered applause and glorification as humiliation to his great poetic stature. His humbleness was not the humiliation but rather it was seen as a cause of jubilation by the generation after him. The great Urdu Poet in his Turkish cap and glittering eyes, white beard, pious QABA (cloak) was appearing ‘Wali’ (holy man) in sprit with the shining forehead as depicted by Iqbal Fareed in his portrait.
Iqbal Fareed introduces Mirza Ghalib to the world through the dying machine the typewriter, by using the letter ‘M’, dashes, hyphens, and brackets to bracket Ghalib in totality in his portrait.
The worth mentioning other portraits were of Dr. Zakir Hussain (Former President of India), a true secular representing Gandhi and Ghalib, Indira Gandhi (the former Prime minister of India), Dharma Veer (the then Governor of Karnataka), and Iqbal Fareed’s ex-boss, superintendent of Police Bagiltaya in whose department he worked as a typist. All these portraits disclosed that genuine great artists are greater than their posts, socio-economic stature, and the recognition they have.
Alan Riddell, an Englishman has written a book named “Type writer art” in 1975. London Magazine editions, London, published this book in 1975. In this book, Iqbal Fareed represents India with a 10×8 portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. Iqbal Fareed made this portrait of Mahatma Gandhi by using only one letter ‘M” Besides ‘M’ he has also used hyphens, brackets and dashes.
Deccan Herald [the leading English News Paper form South India] in its edition of Friday, October 1969 writes:
“Mr. Iqbal Fareed a typist has won a special prize for a typewritten portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at the fine arts exhibition at Mysore. Mr. Iqbal typed the portrait with letter ’M’, He got recognition and was awarded for a typewritten Portrait of President Zakir Hussain with the letter ‘z’ previous year”.
When Dr. Zakir Hussain [the former President of India] saw the portrait, he expressed his opinion in the following words:
“I had never seen such a fine typewritten portrait of mine before and I never know also that typewriters could be used for making portraits”. (Dr. Zakir Hussain: 28/09/1968)
This masterpiece portrait is the combination of secular soul and practicing educational sociologist mind depicted by Iqbal Fareed. When asked by Dr. Zakir Hussain how he makes the light and shade Iqbal Fareed says:
“For making light and shades I use three types of ribbons. Firstly, the new one, secondly the old one and lastly the oldest one. I change the ribbon from time to time according to the need of the portrait” .
Mr. Iqbal Fareed Mysoori is a great typographic artist of his age, who has a distinct image among his contemporary typewriter artists in the world. In the unique book “Typewriter Art” published BY London Magazine Edition, London in 1975, his name is included among the 65 artists of 18 countries out of which only four artists have made life like portraits and Iqbal Fareed is one of them. Iqbal Fareed represented India with a 10×8 inches portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. If Iqbal Fareed’s typewritten portrait has not been included in this book: we may not found the name of India in this book.
Besides typography, Iqbal Fareed is a well-known modern poet of his age. He had been earning bread and butter in the city of Dammam, Saudi Arabia since last 30 years. He is a well-known personality in the Urdu literary circles of Saudi Arabia. His literary work ( Poems and Ghazals ) are widely published in the popular Urdu magazines, journals and literary Editions in India, Pakistan and abroad. The collection of his Urdu poetry “RANGE DIGER” [the different color] has won appreciations from readers as well as from the critics.
His typewritten portraits are the best among all of his contemporaries, which can be seen by necked eyes. This great artist should have proud over him, as his arts are the symbol of harmony and devoted for the cause of global peace. A great typewriter artist like Iqbal Fared Mysoori ought to have honored by Official awards like Padmashree and Padama Bhushan. He is alive, and residing at 188, 3rd Cross, Odigri, Mysore, Karnataka, India. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ References: 1. The book: “Type writer art” Written by Alan Riddell, Published by London Magazine editions, London, 1975. 2.”Range Digar” [the different color]Collection of Urdu Poems and Typewriter works , By : Iqbal Fareed Mysoori, Published by Crown Printers, Mysore in 2003 3.”Iqbal Fareed Aur Range Digar” [Collection of articles, opinions, and comments on Iqbal Fareed] Published by Crown Printers, Mysore in 2005. 4.File of Letters of appreciations, pictures, and newspapers hacks with Iqbal Fareed.