KARACHI: Amean J’s photography collection on Bahawalpur Zoo manages to rekindle childhood memories but little else.
“[Otherwise] the exhibition lacked substance,” said a disgruntled visitor to the “BHV ZOO - Life at Bahawalpur Zoo” that opened on Wednesday at Indus Valley School (IVS). “But he made up for it in terms of presentation,” he hastened to add.
Perhaps this explains why 300 people showed up for the solo exhibition of Amean J’s photography and the launch of the book featuring the photographs. Markings, a new business venture by Kiran Aman, debuts with “BHV ZOO” as a photographic coffeetable and e-book.
Through “BHV ZOO”, Amean J captures the lives of animals in designated areas and investigates their interactions within a confined space. “The book invokes a discussion on private spaces versus public spaces through the juxtaposition of the zoo as a public space for spectators and a private space for the inhabitant animals,” said Amean J, according to a press release.
On Wednesday evening, the courtyard at IVS was filled with the who’s who of Karachi’s ‘in’ crowd. Apart from the heads of prominent media houses, architects, artists and singers were spotted chatting away.
Photographer Tapu Javeri opened the show with a 20-minute speech on the new levels of progress being achieved by photography in Pakistan. “It has been a fabulous year for photography, not just in terms of books, but also in terms of a revolution in the profession,” he said.
He seemed to be genuinely touched by the fact that people have started accrediting photography as something being worthy of publishing, something that stands out individually.
Poet Ilona Yusuf, who has contributed to the e-version of BHV ZOO, also praised the work of Amean, who came last to thank the people who showed up.
If you look for meaning in the series of black and white postcards on display, then you will find none. Having said that, Amean does shed light on a neglected recreational spot in Pakistan. He has managed to promote spaces that are quite often neglected in our society.
Perhaps the best thing about the event was the intrinsically ‘desi’ feel. From the subject of his inspiration, to the paneer tikkas and gulab jamuns for food, everything felt Pakistani.
Markings has announced that 10 per cent of all sales from the Rs3,000 book, available at Liberty Books, will go towards World Wildlife Fund. The exhibition of Amean J’s photographs will continue till October 16.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2010.