The reclusive Jamil Naqsh is one of Pakistan's most celebrated living artists. Born in Kairana, in the Uttar Pradesh province of India, his early childhood was marred by his mother's death at the age of five and by the wrenching effects of the 1947 Partition on his family. He was separated from his father, who stayed behind in India and whom he never saw again. Influenced by his childhood memories of Kairana as a center for classical music, Naqsh gravitated towards the arts and studied at the Mayo School of Art under the modern miniaturist, Ustad Mohammad Sharif. Though not technically working in a miniature format, his training led him to choose calligraphy and figurative works featuring nudes, pigeons, doves and horses as his leitmotif.
The pigeon or dove serves as both a poignant memory of the birds that used to fly through the windows of his ancestral home and a symbol of love, as messengers of romantic missives.