From paintings, drawings and photography to sculptures, ceramics, and digital installation art, different expressions of art came together to showcase the brightest upcoming talents in Pakistan at the VM Art Gallery on Tuesday.
The art works of students from Karachi, Lahore, Hyderabad, Pindi and Gujrat filled the gallery at the opening reception of the 11th Emerging Talent exhibition, which also gave the students an opportunity to meet other driven artists like themselves.
“Pakistan has a vibrant art and culture scene and I am amazed at the diversity of works displayed at the exhibition,” British Council Director Barbara Wickham said at the opening reception. She applauded Riffat Alvi for organising the show and for providing a launching pad for young artists.
Riffat Alvi, the director/curator of VM Art gallery, said that it took two months to organise the show. “The selection process was tough as only two pieces were selected from the students’ thesis,” said Alvi. “The main purpose for the show was to exhibit the diversity of work being carried out in different art institutes across Pakistan. Artwork being purchased is an added bonus for the artist.”
Alvi emphasised that to be an artist, one needs commitment whereas some artists stay committed only for the four years they spend in art school. “Marriages are a hurdle for the art scene as 50 per cent of the female artists get married after graduation. People need to realise that art is more important than marriage.”
According to the curator, only five per cent of the people, who were part of the previous Emerging Talent exhibitions, were still practicing artists. She plans to start a curatorial programme which aims to train newcomers. She noted, however, that the government also needs to play its part in promoting art and provide funding.
Nabeel Majid, participant of the emerging talent exhibition in 2004, said that the show was a great stepping stone for emerging artist. “My identity as a marble sculpture artist came from this show,” he acknowledged.
Mahrukh, a visitor, said that it was interesting to see how artists often have different perspectives on the same theme. Another visitor was mesmerised by Karachi University’s Samra Roohi’s “untitled” lenticular prints which “represents Karachi as the instant city – one instant people are happy and the other, they are violent.”
Alefiya Zakir, a graduate from the Karachi School of Art, who used print making and etching technique in her work, was the only artist whose work was sold out on the first day of the exhibition. “It’s a dream come true to be a part of this show,” said the artist whose work addresses the passage of time, the cycle of life and the mark of a fleeting moment.
There were many artists who were showcasing their work for the first time and Tehmina Maknajl, a graduate of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, was one of them. Her interactive sculptures spoke of her belief in art’s functionality. “My sculptures are functional and provide entertainment, inclining one to engage with it regardless of the barriers of age, background or class,” she explained.
The exhibition, which offers an insight into the creative process of the next generation of artists, will run at the VM gallery till July 18.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2013.