Press down to go up: Everything begins at the end

Uzair Akrams second solo exhibition breaks linear narratives as you circumambulate around a circle of visual display.

Amna Iqbal/photo Ayesha Mir March 23, 2013
A narrative of two worlds. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

I climbed up the few flight of stairs into the warehouse gallery, picked up the list of pieces on display and attempted to start with the first one titled 'Inna Lil Lahe Wa Inna Alahie Raajeoun'. The end.

After that, the experience of what the show was about began. Like most exhibitions you look for the narrative in the structure of the display. Here the artist makes you connect the dots ‘scattered across time and space’ to make your own. You don’t begin at beginnings and there are no clean endings. The circle is the only given, an infinite loop. The rest, go figure.

Uzair Akram, a Communication Design graduate from Indus Valley, had used multiple media for his work. From acrylic on canvas to metal, tar and wood interspersed with delicate type inked on cotton canvases and butterflies that had once existed in time, the body of work is a collection transcends classification. To say that it was out of the box would be a weak pun on his attempt of breaking lines.

The numbers that mark the pieces are a deception – again, you can decide for yourself if its deliberate or something you later realize was in your head. The painted pieces were acrylic but were not contained within the frame. They flowed on to the wall, morphing into roses on the ground or a metal shard that bloomed from within and then outwards.

Tucked away in a niche – a space in the room that was meant for nothing at all, were three pieces that marked the most important instances in Akrams life. Ink on paper, they were sketches that invite you in to his story. And if you closer the delicate type will be revelations that whisper a life spent connecting scattered stories.

The artists own favorite piece was ‘Dastaan e dou Jehan (A narrative of two worlds)’ It combined canvas with tar and to keep the narrative going beyond a cube that connected the two worlds was tucked a corner.

‘The only way up is down’ is runs from 22 – 31 March. Or so they say. Nothing ends since it begins at the same place.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2013.


Afia | 9 years ago | Reply

This really is a very interesting exhibition, as is the space in which it's being shown. I thought it was lovely that the artist drew his daughter into the effort by collaborating with her on one of the paintings! Definitely recommended for a look-see.

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