Capturing every moment a person has experienced in a lifetime is next to impossible. How, then, does one recount and document precious incidents in a complete album and store it in our minds? Curator Amin Gulgee, who has spearheaded several projects on performance art in the past, carefully orchestrated yet another live show at his gallery on Wednesday titled Riwhyti: One Night Stand.
“I am very excited about it [the performance],” says Amin. “Riwhyti: One Night Stand will contain performances that I believe are a big part of our lives such as death, marriage and life itself.” The three predetermined events that take place in a person’s life, birth, marriage and death, were vividly reproduced and became the crux of Amin’s show.
As the evening commenced, 21 carefully constructed performances took place simultaneously in different parts of the Amin Gulgee Gallery. A man (Muzzumil Ruheel) with a black umbrella, tagged along with some people (celebrities) as they walked past him — depicting forced friendships people make to achieve their hidden agendas.
In the front courtyard, ex-model Frieha Altaf was seen giving Fifteen Minutes of Fame to people and gestured to them to come and autograph the canvas as well as speak to the camera crew.
Ayessha Quraishi was seen painting away on a canvas in the main gallery, called The Sensual Orchestra Plays Live, and a little distance away in a corner, was Syed Ammad Tahir orchestrating another mysterious act, Mirror Mirror on the Wall. Sitting in solitude, Tahir’s innate desire to be a woman came to life as he applied heavy eye make-up and immersed into his murky inner self.
In another corner, Angeline Malik enacted With Oneself as she sat by a projector screen and watched herself conduct various scenes from a bystander’s point-of-view. On the stairwell next to her was Fayez Agariah; he sat inside a suitcase and frantically stitched pieces of small fabric to his outfit.
Nimra Buchas’s Swimming Pool act was an intriguing one as it was well-narrated, interactive and touching. Whoever approached her, was handed headphones through which she narrated her tale; as a swimming instructor, she dedicated her lifetime to the pool and after 30 years, she was ready to tie the knot with a man younger than her; sadly she is mocked by others and this adds to her fears.
Seated on a thakhat were Raania Azam Khan Durrani and Saba Iqbal in Mystery Nivala; dressed in traditional ghararas, they handed out paan to their audience as they reproduced the old days of warmth, tradition and culture.
“It is fascinating how Amin Gulgee puts everything together,” said Shanaz Ramzi, GM Publications and Press Relations of Hum Network, who was impressed with the performance. For visitor Zaheer Kidvai, the evening bore a welcomed classic touch as he said, “Bohot hi acha tha.”
But a few members of the audience were left rather perplexed by this art form. “I am still trying to figure out what this is all about,” said director Saqib Malik. “But I think it’s good to be lost at times. In places like these, one needs to touch or get a sense of feel regarding whether it’s all real or not.”
Others present were there to support their loved ones such as writer Mohammad Hanif, whose wife Nimra Bucha performed Swimming Pool. “I don’t know [about other performances]. I only know about one act,” says Hanif, referring to his wife.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2013.
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