KARACHI: From an upper class wife who seems to manage her husband and her high heels simultaneously to two village girls gossiping on someone’s rooftop under the moonlight - the joys and sorrows of women from all walks of life were explored at an art exhibition on Thursday.
On Thursday, Alliance Francaisé hosted an International Women’s Day Art Exhibition in collaboration organised by New World Concepts and Grandeur Art Gallery to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Adviser to chief minister on Auqaf Sharmila Farooqi inaugurated the exhibition. “Violence against women is one of the major issues we are facing today,” she said. “In these paintings, women have been shown as battling some kind of violence. It is important to put up a fight against violence and women who do that, in whatever small manner, need to be appreciated.”
Romila Kareem, an artist whose work was themed on ‘The Promised Garden’, explained how difficult it has become to sell the idea of heaven to children in “a city continuously flooded with violence”. “When I was a child, my mother used to tell me that if you are good, you will go to heaven, which is like a garden,” she told The Express Tribune. “Today, I tell my children that there are many different kinds of flowers in every garden. Some of the flowers are Shia and some are Sunni, but both are equally beautiful.”
Sarwat Gillani, an actress who also paints occasionally, explained how she saw women as very fluid characters. “In my work, I have used the sea to symbolise women because every day, I see women multi-tasking and handling seemingly impossible situations by staying calm and being flexible. The child is getting late to school. The husband has to go to work. The milkman or the maid doesn’t turn up. In the middle of all this, the woman stays calm every day to ensure her little home doesn’t fall apart.”
The exhibition was the result of six weeks of hard work, said Neshmia Ahmed, one of the organisers. “We have put up the work of a number of new artists because we wanted to give them an opportunity as well,” she explained.
Cyra Ali, a practicing artist who graduated from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 2010, explained how her work on ‘Enchanted Forest’ explored women’s lives. “The scissors shown in the painting depict the violence against women and well as women’s retaliation to the violence,” she explained. “I’ve used embroidery because I feel that layers add more meaning to the work. My work is a story on embroidery with the birds representing what women want, which is, freedom.”
Around 48 paintings sketched by a number of well-known as well as upcoming female artists are on display at Alliance Francaisé till March 9.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2013.
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