The Rohtas Gallery concluded its season with ‘In Dialogue,’ an exhibition featuring new works by Karachi-based artists Hina Farooqui, Malika Abbas and Noor Yousof.
“Each artist seeks to reach out to the viewer in their own way; engage in dialogue,” commented Rohtas Curator, Natasha. “They are individually commenting on an aspect of society-Hina Farooqui, for example, is very interested in ‘flesh,’ in the way society looks down upon ‘fat people’ or being ‘fat.’”
Farooqui, a graduate from Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture, 2003, works with images from real life; the photographs and images are cut up, juxtaposed, enlarged, shrunk; they undergo transformation as a body would. It is this interest in the body and its associated perceptions that are featured in her current work.
“Since my diagnosis of hypothyroidism a few years ago, I have constantly struggled with my increasing weight and changing body image. I find myself disliking and detesting the newly formed flab and flesh that covers my body. This sense of ‘not belonging’ and ‘alienation’ brings about frustration and turbulence in my life,” says Farooqui in her Artist Statement. Baba Bharat Singh addresses the issues that occupy Farooqui: it depicts a standing portrait, a bare chested Bharat Singh exposing ‘flesh,’ isolated in the frame; immediately a sense of alienation pervades- the subject is disengaged, alone.
Noor Yousof has been transformed by loss, according to the curator. The photomontagist layers digital prints to an uncanny and precise effect. It is the lack “that behaves like a void with a need” predominating her work; an overpowering gloom of ash-clouds that contrasts with hope and regeneration in a yoking of opposites.
Malika Abbas moves from the personal to the socio-political, addressing trends, fashion, and the insatiable desire for being ‘better.’ Hence the “bandwagon” featured in her paper, thread, and cloth work: a circus of wares, endless movement, attracting crowds. Her bandwagon is superimposed on the local fashion scene. In her statement, Abbas claims that consumers “don’t disappoint” anymore, “From laces, satin, funky shirt cuts to lawn and embroidered fabric our women are quick to join the bandwagon.”
Unfortunately the artists were unable to make it to Islamabad for the exhibition. However, these works don’t need mouthpieces because they are dialogically confident, designed to engage instantly. They will be on display at Rohtas Gallery Islamabad till June 5.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2011.