‘Time Lapse’ - where ceramics talk geo-politics

Exhibit explores a fragile situation through a novel medium.

Photo Athar Khan/saadia Qamar February 16, 2014
Salim is a former student of IVS, who studied Design with Ceramics as her major, and has now returned to her alma mater as a Fine Arts teacher. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS


Meet ceramist Sadia Salim. She believes artists feel a certain helplessness when thinking about the political situation of Karachi and thus can only explain how they feel through their work. Salim’s latest exhibit, titled ‘Time Lapse’, is currently being showcased at Koel Art Gallery, Clifton. According to Salim, her work speaks “about the narrative which is not only personal, but envelopes a very clear geo-political understanding”. All this comes to light when one views her work.

Take, for instance, her piece ‘Every Home Has an Expiry Date’, where one can see ceramic birds that have flown away and abandoned their home, a little nest which lies empty. Or her ‘Untitled work, where ceramics have been painted in different colors talking at length about Cape Town, South Africa, where she believes segregation based on racial differences is more apparent than anywhere else in the world. This she views in the context of Thabo Mbeki’s speech, written on a board, as she reflects on the place as a visitor post-apartheid.


Salim says that as she experiences things, they come vividly alive via her art. Salim is a former student of IVS, who studied Design with Ceramics as her major, and has now returned to her alma mater as a Fine Arts teacher. Her other exhibitions have taken place in UK’s Leeds Museum, NYC’s Queen’s Museum and Mohatta Palace, Karachi.


‘Digital Beach’ is a piece where one could see the roaring Arabian Sea via a video projection. It is here she laments, about the city by the sea that has lost not only its freedom, but also secure access for the common man, either to the nearby beach or to the park. Salim says, “It is the helplessness that is there [that intrigues me]. I can only express it via my work. For an artist, what matters is how honestly you have led your life and been able to fulfill your responsibilities wisely.”


On a lighter note, she gives us a look at  Liverpool. The city was awarded the European Capital of Culture Award in 2008, and hence, is the inspiration behind Salim’s pinhole negatives on a photographic paper.


Her work is definitely not restricted to any time and space. Rather,  it is delving into a geo-political search for more answers. The answers, of course, lie in the ceramic delights she creates to address these issues without focusing on just one specific place. Because they are largely concentrated on a global level, they allow the viewer to celebrate the diversity of culture on one hand, yet depict a vulnerable and dependent city or place on the other, which sadly, is the reality of its inhabitants.

The exhibition continues till the 03rd of March 2014, at the Koel Art Gallery.

Published in The Expres Tribune, February 17th, 2014.

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