Food For The Senses

Meet Fawad Tamkanat and his daughter Afza. Both are artists, each with their own influences and styles. Fawad is an internationally renowned artist whose works are found in the houses of Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. Afza’s work on the other hand can be seen in Imago Mundi, Italy, and the Vienna Biennale as well as showcased at a private collection in USA. She also recently showcased her collection in Dubai and Pune. We invite them for dinner and a conversation about their journey with art, at the new Deli 9 Bistro at Financial District.



Born into a progressive Muslim family that believed art was the way of life and thanks to his father (and well known poet) Shaz Tamkanat’s circle that comprised big writers, poets and singers, Fawad Tamkanat’s exposure to art happened at an early age. “A lot of creative people like Begum Akhtar, Ghulam Ali, Javed Akhtar and his father Jan Nisar Akhtar, used to visit our house. So I grew up in a creative environment and art being a way of our life, it was but natural for me to take up fine art with commerce for my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.” He was awarded gold medals in both his graduation and post graduation and confesses to being bad and notorious when it came to other subjects.
The starters stream in and we are served a portion of Fiery Crispy Prawns and Deli 9 Bistro’s famous Smoking Cheese Barrels. We could tell by his expressions that Fawad really enjoyed them. “It’s an innovative way of presenting mirchi bhajjis – the taste is perfect, the cheese balances out the spice!” says Fawad. Afza too agrees and adds, “It is the best option for finger food when engrossed in deep conversations with friends!”
Continuing our conversation while we munch on the Fiery Crispy Prawns, Afza says she has been painting ever since she can remember as she stumbled upon the joy of colours at an early age. “Over the years, my work has been a synthesis of different creative expressions where I would experiment with various subjects and use diverse media.” From watercolours, photographs, to pen and ink, oils to acrylics, videos, collages and thread – she’s tested various techniques and has found new ways of communicating her ideas. She did her ICSE from Nasr School where she had the option of studying art from class 9 onwards.

A tall jar of Frioska arrives – a delicious fruit mojito – and we get to talking about their art, how it started and what they are presently doing. Fawad informs us that he has never participated in any art competitions. “ You can never judge someone’s creativity by grading them! I haven’t participated in competitions held by the government either.” His idea was to gain knowledge by being on the job, and that’s why he worked in international galleries and as a curator. When it comes to his art, his inspiration has always been the life around him. “At one point, it was purely women but today I believe in learning something new from life every day. Afza’s paintings however, so different from mine, inspire me. My nephews, Aqib and Atif paint with me sometimes, that too is very inspiring.”
For Afza, her work did not spring from external forces. She believes it’s always been an innate part of her and she discovered the joy of expressing her thoughts and watched them emerge in a physical form when she held the paint brush for the first time. “There is so much joy in watching your ideas take physical form which words can’t articulate. The feel of texture, the sight of colours and blending of forms to create a vision is a magical and mesmerising experience. Having said that, I think my work is a reflection of my life.” Afza looks up to her family for inspiration and treats her work as a pictorial diary imbibed with text in which she captures the people she relates to and those who have left a strong impression on her persona.
Out comes the main course and the conversation gets more intense as we talk about the art scene in Hyderabad. Fawad orders a Pan Grilled Fish Steak, while Afza calls for the Cottage Cheese Steak and we decide to spoil our taste buds with Thai Green Curry with Steamed Rice.
The current art scene, Fawad says, is in a pathetic state. “There are only few well read young women artists who are doing well; whereas everybody else is following the old trend of cows, carts and goat!” However, his daughter seems hopeful about the art scene; she says, “Hyderabad is a place where budding artists are encouraged and supported very well by galleries. With innovative ideas and shows coming up, there is a lot of scope for experimenting here.”
Ending an interesting conversation where father and daughter give us their inputs about the art world, we call for dessert. While all of us indulge in the sweeter things of life, such as the Blueberry Cheesecake and the Red Velvet Roulade, Fawad chooses a healthier option – Green Tea. On taking leave, we ask them where they see themselves in five years’ time. Fawad says, “Today, you can find my work in the National Gallery of Modern Art, five years from today it will be up in all the major museums in the world!” And as for Afza, she says, “I would like to see myself exhibiting my work and travelling around the world!”

Deli 9 Bistro is at Wipro SEZ Parking Route, Financial District, Nanakram Guda,
hyderabad, Telangana Ph: +91 40 33165206