A sense of attachment: Creating depth in vacant, occupied spaces

Two Lahori artists venture into Karachi’s art scene for exposure, opportunity


Fatima Munir October 15, 2018
Photo Album III by Sana Durrani. photos: courtesy studio seven

KARACHI: Two young artists from Lahore took the city’s art enthusiasts on a journey to highlight the study of spaces - abandoned and occupied - during a two-person show, Void’, at Studio Seven on Tuesday.

Analysing space in their own unique styles, artists Minaa Haroon and Sana Durrani explored the existence and impact of everyday spaces be it buildings, streets or vacant houses on those who interact with these spaces.

VOID without price Catalogue

Haroon, who completed her Masters in Art and Design from Beaconhouse National University (BNU) in Lahore, is currently working at the Alhamra Art Gallery in Lahore as the assistant director for fine arts. She works with everyday objects and portrays the buildings of old Lahore, taking inspiration from the concept of miniature paintings, in a manner that highlights the space inside a building through a window view.

This young artist highlights that our relationship with spaces is long and complex and an integral part of our evolution. “Architectural spaces are a collective recollection of a place and its people that hold the tangible and intangible layers of experiences and memories of the humans at various levels,” she told The Express Tribune.

To stress on the ‘layers’ of experience, Haroon uses wasli paper as her medium, which is a type of handmade paper used specifically for painting miniatures. “The massing of wasli in this body of work creates intricate models of urban landscapes inspired by the architectural density of Lahore in which I live,” she shared. She cuts out the images to place significance on her object of focus - windows.

VOID without price Catalogue

In contrast to Haroon, Durrani’s work questions the psychological impact of spaces on people and vice versa. Also a graduate from BNU, Durrani focuses on documenting a litigation property, her grandparent’s old home, with the hope to relive her childhood memories.

“My motivation is always to communicate with the lost era through studying spaces that people inhabit,” she shared. Although interior spaces are usually defined by walls and their confining boundaries, Durrani expressed the belief that individuals living inside those spaces play the most significant role through their existence because they dictate how influential the environment within those spaces is.

VOID without price Catalogue

One of Durrani’s series, ‘Photo Album’, uses this peculiar phrase as the title as Durrani says it reminds her of her childhood when pictures would be in album form and not digitised. She wanted to give her audience the same nostalgic feeling, which is why the paintings are not only called photo album but also printed on a typical photo album size of 5x7.

Based on her personal experiences, of visiting old and abandoned spaces, her next venture will be documenting abandoned spaces with inhabitants.

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Praising Durrani’s work, Haroon said it was impressive how the paintings [of an abandoned house] were given life just through the use of light.

One of the visitors, ArtChowk Gallery Owner Shakira Masood, who carefully inspected each artwork with earnestness, said her favourite piece was ‘Windows to the Past IV’ by Durrani as it made use of back light aptly, giving a natural look.

VOID without price Catalogue

Appreciating the work of the two artists, Studio Seven Art and Design Director Iftikhar Chohan said the gallery encourages the younger artists more as it is them who will become the next Amin Gulgees and Sadequians of the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2018.

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