The title of this group show implies that the audience should expect symmetry and motion from the 11 participating artists, including Fariha Nadir and Syed Ammad Tahir. And you ought to, if only because once you enter the gallery space you will be surrounded by swift precision and sensitiveness.
Collectively, the artists give the viewer a gentle nudge with their intricate pencil drawings. “We wanted to curate a show based on drawings,” said VM Art Gallery director Riffat Alvi. “I asked all the artists to showcase their body of work and we selected two or three of their best pieces and here they are,” she said sweeping her arms around the wide space.
Taking a turn around the gallery, Sahar Jawaid’s three charcoal drawings on canson come into view first. For Jawaid, who is a recent University of Karachi graduate, the colour black is really appealing as it provides flatness of colour but depth to the viewer. “My work is simply an exploration of the colour black,” she said.
Nadira Hussain, a Rhode Island School of Design alumnus, showcased 11 drawings with simple subjects such as fish, flowers and trees. “The beauty of Hussain’s work is her pointistic work detail,” said Alvi. “She does not like to use a lot of colour but her pencil work and precision are immaculate.” The artist’s work explored the tension associated with static detail and energy.
From fishes and flowers, the exhibition turned towards dates by Sana Burney. The artist who is a teacher at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVSAA) used three sheets of cartridge paper and a red marker to show a khajoor and its transformation into a female entity.
Dates are followed by simple scribblings on paper by Habib Phupoto from Jamshoro. His work belies a depth and sensitivity which is not visible to the naked eye. “He scribbles back and forth and it is fascinating!” Riffat exclaimed. “The delicacy and sensitiveness is portrayed by using tracing paper and the artistic manner in which he has used a pointer to scribble.”
Linear motions also include work from another IVSAA graduate, Mehreen Hashmi, who focused on ink portraits which emphasise the facial expressions of her subjects.
Syed Ammad Tahir’s work was a notch up from the rest as it focused on two very different aspects of life — one piece titled ‘Your body is my battleground’ was set up like a screen with a man in front and two women fighting over him. With spots of green and orange dotting the screen, the drawing was quite captivating. “Ammad uses thumb impressions and has a particular command over his drawings,” explained Alvi.
Zain Ashir’s work brought a burst of colour with a royal theme to the gallery space. The yellow and black piece titled Legacy of Kings spoke volumes but was hidden in layers of heavy meaning.
The real show stealer, however, was Faria Nadir’s portrait of her grandmother titled, ‘Nana’. By using ink wash and ink on paper, the University of Karachi graduate created a magnificent piece of art which looked like a crumpled-up aged version of Lenardo Di Vinci’s sketch titled ‘Female head’. According to Nadir, her work is just an experiment with observational drawings.
Aliya Moosavee, Sarah Zaidi and Monazza Fatima Naqvi also took part. Their work was simple and delicate. Moosavee focused on ears while Zaidi used feathers as her subject. Naqvi used pen on ivory and tracing paper with a precision that could only be replicated in the human DNA system.
The Coordination Linear Motion exhibition will be open till July 30 at the V M Art Gallery.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2011.