KARACHI: When you try to represent Sindh visually, it is no surprise that the result is a predominant representation of ajraks, embroidery and the Bhuttos.
‘Romancing Sindh’ exhibit at Full Circle Gallery opened on Monday and it uses the above to celebrate the heritage of this province. The exhibition being held in collaboration with SozanKaar is on display till February 15.
The exhibition is the brainchild of Guddo Haider, the owner of both the gallery and SozanKaar. She explained that ‘Romancing Sindh’ is a visual representation of the transition of traditional Sindhi textiles to modernity. She was assisted by artist Sherazade Junejo and Kashif Humayun, the manager at Full Circle Gallery.
“I’ve always been keen on old textiles and reviving old textile work,” said Haider. “Some of the work is a hundred years old and is long forgotten.”
Located in Clifton, the gallery has been filled with all things Sindhi. One room in the gallery is dedicated entirely to the legends of Sindh. Photographs of these legends cover the walls, including musical geniuses, such as Abida Parveen, Sanam Marvi and Allan Fakir. Another wall in the gallery is dedicated solely to the Bhutto family, “without whose dedication, passion and compassion, Sindh would not stand where it does today,” read the press release.
“The concept of romancing Sindh is related to the Sufis and how they are transitioning into the modern age,” Haider explained.
The remaining walls of the gallery display paintings relating to Sindh - Amin Gulgee’s portrait of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Imran Soomro’s intermixing portrait of Benazir Bhutto and the Mona Lisa, along with several paintings of Sindhi women by Ali Abbas and Imran Zaib.
The main attraction of the exhibition is, however, the gigantic display of a woman wearing a skirt made of a variety of Sindhi textiles, such as ajrak and chunri. “The woman has her head held high and the colours flow out of her,” Haider pointed out. “She is dignified, she’s above others.”
Also, littered around the gallery are displays of colourful clothes that incorporate tradition with modernity. “Nothing is for sale here,” said Humayun. “The purpose of the display is for people to come and celebrate Sindhi culture.”
Haider went on to say that people should come see how the work was before and compare it to the textile work of today. “We need to preserve and revive this traditional textile work. People are so concerned with getting clothes from abroad but they don’t realise how beautiful and precious our traditional clothes are.”
She expressed a desire to see people incorporating traditional designs and material into their modern clothes. Though it was not part of the Sindh Festival initially, the exhibition is being held now so that they too can celebrate Sindhi culture.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2014.
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