ISLAMABAD: Art is a beautiful form of expression. It becomes even more expressive and exquisite when it represents the past.
The recent exhibition at My Art World “Amnesia” featuring the works of Sundeep Kumar and Syed Arsalan Naqvi does exactly that.
It highlights heart-wrenching memories of disaster, terrorism, calamity and poverty to ensure one does not turn a blind eye towards the turbulent times that our country has seen over the last few years.
The paintings are primarily oil on canvas with Arsalan showcasing mixed media and collage with acrylic. What makes Arsalan’s work unique is not the medium but the fact that even oil on canvas is extremely different from most similar works.
The canvases are round adding a whole different look to the paintings.
The theme itself is such that it touches the heart and resonates with the masses, while making one feel patriotic.
Arsalan, born in Hyderabad has been practicing art since he graduated from Khana-e-Farhang in Iran. He showcased his work in a solo show in 2009 at the Alliance Francaise in Karachi.
In 2012, his paintings were selected and shown at the “International Group Exhibition” by the Tralarte Organization in Fossano, Italy and at Aakriti Art Gallery, Kolkata, India the same year.
“My artistic journey has touched many street children in Pakistan. The innocence, vulnerability and suffering are what I capture and portray through my work. It is an attempt to immortalise their dark childhood memories and bring forward a segment of society not many are willing to talk about or give attention to,” Arsalan said.
Sundeep Kumar, a very young artist featured in Amnesia hails from Islamkot, Tharparkar. He graduated with a bachelors in Fine Arts from Centre of Excellence in Arts and Design, Jamshoro. Kumar’s favourite medium of expression is painting and his recent work is about coins and the dates depicted on them.
“The coins are just a currency for the masses but for me, they are extremely fascinating. The metallic colours and low relief have always been highly enticing. The coins and the yearly dates depicted on coins carry great meaning to me and always take me back to the memories, both experienced and told by my elders. I have changed the size of the coins to give a meaning to the visuals and to share my memories with the public at large. My work consists of round surfaces, I defaced the coins and swapped it with my memories,” he said.
Zara Sajid, the curator at My Art World said that the exhibition was an ode to the unsung heroes of Pakistan.
“It is an attempt to show them that we have not forgotten them. We celebrate their bravery and valour and feel their pain. As you browse through this series, each piece of art will speak to you. The feelings it evoke is what will fulfill the purpose of this exhibit,” she said.
Sajid further said that sometimes it was okay to bring the unpleasant to the surface.
“It is cathartic and it teaches us lessons we should not forget,” she added.
The exhibition will continue till January 22.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2016.