Huma Jehan has sketched our iconic Whitley Pump. This is just one of many Katesgrove landmarks and buildings she has captured with her distinctive, gentle, soft-lined art.
Huma’s other sketches of drowsy commuters and coffee shop dreamers are, to quote Rumi, “the entire ocean in a drop”.
They are often looking away, and sometimes faceless, as Huma doesn’t like her sitters to be self-conscious and know they are subjects. She grabs her sketching time on her daily commute to London or over a frothy coffee in a café.
These unknowing sitters remind me of the portraits of an artist called Philip Dark. He was a POW in world war two who drew and painted his fellow inmates.
Although the connection may seem tenuous, a lot of Philip Dark’s sitters were looking away too. It was because they were trying to find their personal space in trying and claustrophobic circumstances, far away from kith and kin and any certain future.
It would be flippant to link the plight of modern day commuters with that of these heroic soldiers, but commuting to London is not for the faint-hearted either. I think it was Picasso in a good mood who said “the purpose of art is to wash the dust of life from off our souls”.
It was a pleasure to bump into Huma and her partner on a number 5 bus to Whitley Street recently. I asked when her art will become available to buy; she said she intends to make it so at some point, but is still very busy.
When these pictures find a friendly frame and are up for sale, I expect them to be highly sought after.
Matthew Farrall, the author of this article, died on 20 April 2018.
We are grateful to his family for allowing us to continue to display his work online.
- A little lower than the angels in Reading
- Huma Jehan’s website and Twitter page
- Philip Dark obituary, discussion and exhibition