KARACHI: Faceless monks and whirling dervishes adorned the walls of VM Art Gallery at the launch of artist Faiza Shaikh’s exhibition, Tolerance, on Monday.
“I began working on this collection in 2012,” said Faiza, adding that she had used verses from the Quran in some of her previous collections as well but in this one, she had expanded the theme to include Buddism and Sufism. “The central idea here is that of peace,” she added.
Artist Faiza Shaikh’s Tranquility is among the paintings on display at the VM Art Gallery. PHOTO COURTESY: VM ART GALLERY
Faiza has been painting ever since she completed her undergraduate studies from an arts college in Manchester. According to her husband, Taimur Shaikh, one of her paintings, The Dancing Dervish, was chosen by an international art company, Christie’s, and sold for $6,500 at a charity auction in Dubai. “All proceeds from the event went to World Food Programme,” he added. “Rumi’s idea of peaceful coexistence is the message of her current exhibition,” said Taimur.
Artist Faiza Shaikh’s Alchemy Rumi is among the paintings on display at the VM Art Gallery. PHOTO COURTESY: VM ART GALLERY
“He speaks of dervish who dance away their egos to be in union with God.” Taimur explained that Faiza had also painted faceless monks in some of her paintings who symbolised the idea of detachment. He felt that she had combined all three systems of belief, Islam, Sufism and Buddhism, to express the idea of tolerance in a very unique way. “She is not preaching peace like a politician. When you put the message in an art form, it is open to countless interpretations.”
Faiza felt that London and Dubai had a lot to offer in terms of opportunities. “There is more freedom to express yourself as an artist in London,” said Faiza. “Dubai is also very developed in terms of the opportunities it has to offer for artists.”
“This is the first time that Faiza has exhibited her work with me,” said Riffat Alvi, the director of the gallery, adding that the crowd was thin at the exhibition because of the sit-ins happening all over the city.
Artist Faiza Shaikh’s Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day is among the paintings on display at the VM Art Gallery. PHOTO COURTESY: VM ART GALLERY
“She has traditionally used Sufism and Islam as the main themes defining her work and she needs to expand her artistic skills.”
Alvi pointed out that people liked to put up paintings with Islamic motifs in their dining rooms and there was a demand for them in Pakistan. “Faiza’s work will continue to improve as she starts experimenting more.” The exhibition ends on May 30.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2013.