Art Lootmaar at T2F: On-the-spot caricatures and James Dean for sale at two-day art bazaar

Published: January 10, 2011
Some of Summaiya Jillani’s hybrid art pieces exhibited at Art Lootmaar on Sunday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN/EXPRESS

Some of Summaiya Jillani’s hybrid art pieces exhibited at Art Lootmaar on Sunday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Seems strange to flaunt soda cans, a cutting board and bedsheets as art but when you mix it up with oil paints and acrylics, voila! You’ve got a masterpiece.

The Second Floor (T2F) café displayed works of 15 artists at their weekend bazaar, ‘Art Lootmaar’.

Aashtee Adil, Anam Haleem, Cyra Ali, Hawra Harianawala, Hira Saleem Malik, Humayun Memon, Jamal Ashiqain, Khuda Bux Abro, Mehlum Sadri, Mehreen Hashmi, Mustafa Mohsin, Sana Nasir, Scherherezade Junejo, Summaiya Jillani and Uzair Akram put together a joint exhibition for ‘show and sell’.

The group included featuring artists, photographers, designers-some of whom are fresh graduates and were using their theses-while others had put together different works especially for the Lootmaar.

‘Chimta man’, as a 10-year-old referred to him, or Arif Lohar was painted on a collage of coke cans. While for a 13-year-old girl, it was Summaiya Jillani’s work that won her over. “This is my favourite piece [titled Dum Ghutku],” she said.

Jillani’s hybrid art was also 20-year-old Mehreen Rizvi’s favourite. “I love how she’s taken two icons [James Dean and Marilyn Monroe] and given them a desi twist but yet managed to keep them true to themselves,” she said.

The artist, who had produced ethnic truck-like-art, said she was working with a theme of East and West in her thesis at University of Karachi. “I used chaadars, rumaals and all sorts of ethnic cloth and painted Eastern-influenced Western icons,” Jillani explained. “All my pieces have been sold including a painting of the Beatles looking like Pathan bus drivers against a bright green cloth,” she told The Express Tribune.

Visitors lined up to get their caricatures done by 24-year-old Sana Nasir, who completed the sketches within 20 minutes for Rs600. “I love both mediums [digital art and illustrations] so much that I couldn’t choose between them,” she said. A parody of all sorts, her work included an image of Jinnah with the text ‘What would Jinnah do?’ floating above it.

For other artists, Lootmaar was a chance to reach out to a different audience.

A commercial artist and National College of Arts graduate, Scherherezade Junejo, said that this was the first time she’s put up her work in such a relaxed ‘bazaar type’ atmosphere.

“My work literally implies what I want it to and in this case it’s to show the faces we put on on a daily basis,” she explained. Working with anatomy for almost two years now, one would guess Junejo had a leg fetish since she used oil paints to create long legs and hands. A theatre artist at heart, Junejo said her work is usually extremely dramatic. Her pieces had a common theme of stitches, which Junejo said reinstated the contrast between the black and white legs, which were highlighted with an area of bright colour. “It’s as if there’s a plastic parasite that leeches onto your skin whether you like it or not,” she added.

Fantasy characters were Anam Haleem’s forte. “I start with random shapes and follow a process to create the final piece, adding forms, lines, background and colour one after the other,” said Haleem. Colours set the theme in his work as his environment landscapes used similar layouts but were completely different due to the colours used. “One looks calm and serene because I used lighter colours whereas another similar painting presents a cold, stormy image since I used darker tones,” he explained.

Twenty-five-year-old Tehmina Fatima snapped shots of the art work with her digital SLR camera. She had helped put together the show and said it was a group effort to provide a space to buy art at more affordable prices. “It is fresh work by fresh people at great prices,” she explained.

“I was pleased to see the manual photography by Humayun Memon,” said Fatima. “I appreciate these pieces because I fear this medium will soon die out,” she added.

Students, adults, grandparents and nephews stood in line at the counter to purchase their favourite pieces and it appeared that the first art bazaar ended successfully for most of the artists.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2011.

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