Dot to Dot: Visions of a peaceful Karachi, urbanised Lahore

Published: April 22, 2012
‘Evolution begins’ by Abdullah Qamer

‘Evolution begins’ by Abdullah Qamer


‘Evolution begins’ by Abdullah Qamer depicts a plant stem made of iron scrap.

“It stands apart for the artist’s use of a very industrial medium to create something so organic,” said David Chalmers Alesworth, who teaches a contemporary art seminar at Beaconhouse National University and who was chief guest on Saturday at Dot to Dot, an exhibition of work by three young artists at Nairang Gallery.

“I think his work is intelligent and makes a strong statement about his abilities as an artist,” he said.

Qamer, a 2007 fine arts graduate from Karachi University, said ‘Evolution begins’ was inspired by the tumult the city of Karachi has suffered since the 1990s. “In a way, it evokes hope of an evolution, of change. One day Karachi will be peaceful,” he said.

Qamer’s other piece, titled Race, was also inspired by the ugly side of Karachi. Karachi is home to large populations of Afghans and Baloch, he said, that live “in an atmosphere of hate and defensiveness. I am just trying to raise a question in the minds of Karachiites,” he said.

Nadeem Bashir, head of communication and design at the National College of Arts, appreciated the “jewel-like appeal” of Qamer’s work.

Saim Ghazi, who is also curator of Nairang Gallery, showcased five pieces of his own work, including an installation and paintings illustrated on metal sheets, about the influence of power cuts and the rapid urbanisation of Lahore.

“We are moving forward but are not examining the problems from before such as building of roads and electricity shortages,” he said.

In a piece called ‘Tin’, he said, squares made of rusted iron showed how people had stopped thinking about their problems. Over a period of three weeks, Ghazi oxidised the iron and then moulded it into squares. He then hinged the pieces together using a thread. Pointing at the columns placed in the front, he said these represented rusted electricity poles.

Three paintings with rust backgrounds were meant to represent the impact of superstitions, cosmology and religion on Pakistani society, said Ghazi.

Nine tiny and detailed pieces composed using a technique known as Feltip by Farukh Adnan, a recent NCA graduate in visual design, completed the exhibition. His creations showed a sensitive handling of vibrations and music.

“They reflect my feelings about music, sound and travel,” said Adnan, who had been working on the pieces since 2010. ‘Wave’ and ‘Breath’ were the most admired by the visitors at the exhibition.

His former teacher, Bashir, said that Adnan’s work showed subtlety and patience, which were necessary characteristics for any miniaturist.

The prices of the works ranged between Rs12,000 and Rs50,000. The exhibition will run until the end of April.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012. 

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