Art: A burnt path to interactive art

First-of-its kind exhibition takes interpretive art to new level.

Sehrish Ali October 27, 2011


Khalil Chistee’s contemporary art burns a path to interactive showcasing, and is now being featured at the Rohtas Gallery.

Chishtee, a former teacher at the National College of Arts now resides in Brooklyn New York, where he has been commissioned to turn a newly-built five-storey residential building into an art installation. He has been exhibiting internationally including India, Paris, Germany and Dubai since his graduation from California State University in 2006.

The artist’s installation, titled “Jo dil pe guzarti hey raqam kerte rahein gay”, showcases 22 pieces that have undergone the welding spark on archival paper technique where each piece portrays burnt incisions embedded in thick layers of archival paper. The artist has left the meaning and inspiration open to interpretation, to the extent of encouraging viewers to write down their own titles for each piece.

The work is mysterious and haunting, where viewers are encouraged to peak through magnifying glasses chained to the pieces and read between the spaces of burnt etches to directly confront the art.

“His work is very subtle yet confrontational,” said art lover Neha. Chishtee’s art isn’t just about depicting visual histories, but brings a certain intensity to the viewing experience.  When observing a hidden face of the word “Raqam”, through the magnifying glass, some viewers believed it was George Washington’s face as viewed on a one dollar bill. Others saw President Asif Ali Zardari. What it truly is may be a mystery and is probably meant to be, but the intrigue lies in trying to decipher it.

The exhibition will carry on till November 9.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2011.


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