LAHORE: “What’s the time in your world?” is the title of a week-long solo exhibition underway at Taseer Art gallery that featured 19 pieces by Raza Bukhari on Thursday.
Using mix media, archival prints and carpets to create intricate imagery portraying complex political, religious and daily life relationships, Raza said his works speak the nature of culture in the 21st century.
“By taking a single religious image, I remove it from its original context by overlapping elements, hence making it mysterious, I try to entice the viewer to make their own narrative,” Raza explained.
“My art is a powerful interpretation of my deepest thoughts, love, sex, violence and strongest desires,” he said.
“Pictures for me are equivalent to feelings, things that can’t be expressed in words. Artwork is a glimpse of how my life is divided between cultures, everything that we see is filtered by conditioning”, Raza explained.
Through his art, Raza tries to express the spirit of the time. He said he never lets himself confine into a certain mould or technique while working.
“If you keep on thinking about your work in terms of how wrong or right it is or if it has flaws, you are going the wrong way,” he explained.
Artists that inspire him include Damien Hirst and Mahmoud Farshchia, who are worlds apart in terms of their work and style.
Raza has experimented and explored different mediums like photo transfer, gouache on wasli, digital and archival prints, carpets, metal and each one speaks its own language.
“In the carpet series, I got carpets mechanically stitched which signify the change of meaning just by the substitution of the material used,” he explained.
The artist said as a child he used to play on Persian carpets, and was fascinated by looking at religious motifs and style with illuminations and miniature paintings.
“The vague and unfinished motifs depict the change of traditions and lack of clarity regarding religious concepts,” he said.
“The mere purpose of a carpet is not only decorative but also to give comfort as you caress the soft fabric and like the medium used, my images are meant to cast the same effect to the eyes,” Raza explained.
Curator Sanam Taseer said the artist originally started using western cartoon figures to talk about war and how it’s so much easier for people to kill each other, dehumanize each other and see each other in terms of stereotypes.
“But in his latest collection, he has infused the imagery with Islamic or rather eastern cultural symbols,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2016.