Red hot: ‘No escape from societal norms’

Ten of the 350 participants shortlisted as best young artists; exhibition to continue till April 28.

Saleha Rauf April 12, 2011


“Human behaviour is shaped by social standards. These make them do things they might not opt for out of freewill,” said Shehrezad Junejo on Monday.

She was referring to her self-portrait that won her the best artist award at Red Hot, the 7th Annual Exhibition of paintings, sculpture, ceramics and graphic arts by young artists.

The exhibition is underway at the Alhamra Arts Council. More than 310 young artists from Quetta, Multan, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, rural areas of Sindh, Karachi, Mardan, Gilgit, Rawalpindi and Islamabad participated in the exhibition.

Junejo said she wanted to show how people were “trapped inside there own skin”. She said she was inspired by the experiences she had to go through even though she would have wanted to avoid them.

A total of 10 artists were shortlisted for the best artist award. Besides Shehrezad Junejo, these included Amna Ansari, Hira Mansoor, Arif Hussain Khokhar, Tooba Zaka, Syed Zain-ul-Abideen, S Husain and Mah Rukh. They were awarded certificates and Rs10,000 each.

Painters RM Naeem and Saeed Akhtar were the jurors.

Saeed Akhtar said that choosing only 10 artists from the 350 who were participating was a very tough task. He said more than half of the work submitted for the exhibition deserved awards. He praised the young artists’ work, saying that it showed that art scene in the country had a bright future.

Reema Bashir, a Hyderabad-based artist, said ceramics were not encouraged in art schools in the country. “There is a common perception that ceramics are only useful in buildings. I have chosen to show how beautiful a medium of expression it can be,” she said.

She said her work was about human moods, particularly the state when one could not be happy and content, no matter how happy the world around one might be.

Farhad Mushtaq, a Punjab University graduate, said he had named his work Memories of My Life because it was based on the diverse experiences he had had while learning to paint. He said his passion for painting had led him to take an apprenticeship with a commercial banners painter.

Tanya Suhail, the curator of the gallery, said that works of Pakistani artists had been gaining popularity abroad. This, she said, was good for the art scene in the country and could persuade more youngsters to take it more seriously.

“Without appreciation, we cannot continue to produce good art. We need to provide young artists with more platforms to exhibit their talents,” she said. The exhibition would continue till April 28.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2011.


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