Energy levels at PeaceNiche T2F went through the roof on Friday. Thirteen artists, including Salma Raza, Sarah Bakhtiyar, Shamira Mahpara and Nabahat Lotia, scrambled around Faraar Gallery’s Jumma Hafta Art Bazaar, to set up their art corners and spots. Meanwhile, the curator, Rania Durrani, took time out to go up to them for a final pep talk, before sticking the price tags on her own artwork.
Holding on to her purple backpack, 19-year-old Fatima Zaidi stood in front of a painting she made for her mother. “When I first started working on this, my mother didn’t like it. She kept asking me why the petals were dripping,” said Zaidi, who is taking a gap year after completing her A-Levels from Karachi Grammar School. “I try to paint what I feel. It’s subtle. People see a landscape or a person. I paint reality. There is a misconception that there is only depth in surrealism. I paint normal things where no one is morphed.” She added that her priority was happiness.
With her silver bangles jingling, Zaidi opened up about her other work, one of which was a beautifully haunting portrait of a geisha with feathery eyelashes. “The geisha symbolises freedom. It’s like when you’re young and you see a good looking successful woman and you’re like I want to grow up to be her,” she talked about the portrait which leant against a pillar near the entrance. “She has a rebellious look on her face, as if she wants to fly but… Ah, gravity won’t let her.”
Zaidi’s work has been displayed at the T2F shop and Alliance Française. She also does commissioned portraits of celebrities.
Sitting across, was ceramic artist Zuna Altaf, who graduated from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVSAA) in ceramic design. According to Altaf, her work focused on organic growth. “Corals…growth under water, it’s all organic. It grows randomly but with proper, nearly perfect composition,” she said. “I used cloth and liquid clay and then burnt it. This helped the form remain intact. The other thing I did was show the movement of grass. By using clay and morphing the triangle, I tried to show how the wind blows in different directions.”
Standing elegantly in the middle of the gallery was Shamira Mahpara, a chef who has worked with Café Flo for several years, has taught art in Africa and worked on projects with street children.
“My work is my own world. My thoughts, how I express myself, have nothing to do with reality,” she said. “Teaching art in Africa was free and not restrictive at all. The art was spontaneous. But here it is done for commercial purposes. The artists paint what they think people want.”
According to Mahpara, a movie on the life of a French artist, Séraphine de Senlis, left a strong impact on her and her art. “She was very poor, and whatever she earned she spent on buy paint,” she said as excitement animated her face. “Séraphine used to paint for herself. When she got famous she became commercial and lost her creativity. By the time she realised what had happened she was in an asylum.”
Sarah Bakhtiyar, another IVSAA graduate, said that she was inspired by Jackson Pollock. Her work, two paintings which took up two walls, wanted to depict the frustrations and restrictions forced on us by society. Her favourite mediums of work are acrylics and charcoal. Jumma Hafta Art Bazaar is a two day art exhibition and will end today.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.
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