A comment on society’s descent into an obscure abyss

Published: November 5, 2018


KARACHI: Celebrated contemporary Pakistani-Canadian painter and sculptor Shahid Rassam’s new body of work, ‘Kafir’, is currently on display at the Sanat Gallery in Clifton.

Inspired by the poetry of Mirza Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir, Rassam’s paintings focus on social attitudes, such as increasing intolerance in society.

The exhibition was attended by renowned scriptwriter and satirist Anwar Maqsood, actors Munawar Saeed and Sajid Hasan and other people from different walks of life.

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Showcasing around 50 paintings, the exhibition also included an iron statue depicting a human skull. The majority of the paintings were made on wall clocks which had their minute and hour arms struck off. However, the seconds arm was in continuous movement.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Rassam said he developed his work after prolonged research on Ghalib and Mir’s poetry. He based his paintings on the themes in the two Urdu poets’ work. He shared that he aims to depict social oppression and other negative tactics used to suppress voices through his art.

Meanwhile, his paintings also highlight time, a concept that apparently seems invisible, as continuously moving forward through the use of seconds travelling a long distance. He stated that the movement of the clock’s arms depicted the hope that after every dark night, there is a brighter morning.

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According to Rassam, social class clashes, increasing hypocrisy and lack of tolerance in society are some of the themes represented in his paintings. These pictures, he said, represent all those who are compelled to suppress their voices of anguish and are forced to spend a life against their wishes.

The artist was of the view that it is the duty of educated persons to speak against the extremism spreading fast in our society. He said that the time had come to explain the difference between right and wrong.

Maqsood said that Rassam considers each of his paintings as a couplet and every exhibition of his is like a new poetry book.

The show ends today (Monday).

Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2018.


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