Arham’s art pieces made using graphite on paper are three separate entities per se, however, they come together in entirety as one landscape; a triptych. Her work is an overview of a city, not any particular city but the idea of a city in general. “Unconciously I come back to the places I have lived in and seen frequently. In each work I try to create a different experience for the viewer, a different way in which the city can be viewed. In this art piece, beauty and the way it stems from chaos are the focal point. The idea here is how something from the oblivion can become the infinite,” commented Arham on her work.
In her art pieces she tries to depict something that is almost ethereal; something that is created from poetic imagination, but is not far from reality. She wants the viewers to engage in her work so deeply that they wish to come close to it just to know what it really is. Arham says, “Everytime I would photograph the city, I would think about hundreds of houses hidden in what seemed to be a foggy sky.” This would always be in the background of her images of the city, but in one of her pieces, she decided to bring it to the forefront. Bringing out a far more beautiful and spiritual side of the city. It has the feeling of looking out into the infinite, and being at peace.
Hafeez’s contribution at the Taseer Art Gallery Group Show consists of three works. The first one titled, I Drew a Line for You is 82cm x 120cm and the other two are 19cm x 19cm and are untitled. Her work is about how we live in a chaotic world, where life always seems complicated but there is an order within it. Every individual finds their own way to simplify the complications and during this process, patterns are created around us. Her drawings can also be called a method of Mark Making and through this process of mark making, patterns can be seen.
Hafeez says, “The works are my interpretation of this concept, which I have done using miniature lines with ink and graphite. I have experimented a lot with the type of paper I use; textured papers, rough or uneven surfaced paper. “
Her work is abstract and by using just simple minute lines, she creates endless possibilities. “Through these drawings I try to explore the idea of finding patterns within the chaos of human existence,” she says.
Sheikh’s two pieces titled Haiku I and Haiku II are made using graphite on paper; one is a single graphite drawing and the other is a triptych coming together as one piece. With nature as her subject, she tends to explore the various imprints, marks and contours of leaves from familiar surroundings, by removing their borders and forming her own landscape. Sheikh says, “I continuously draw the rhythmic details of these leaves, depicting the feeling of being in the process of leaving a certain place behind and being left with fragments layering on top of one another.”
Momina Muhammad Ghazanfar
Ghazanfar’s work initially evolved around the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance; where the bulk of relationships among a person’s cognitions are dissonant, as a single cognition follows from the opposite of another. Ghazanfar says, “During my miniature practice at National college of Arts (NCA), I keenly observed this fascinating subtle cognition in the classical miniature paintings, where a very cruel and harsh subject was painted in a beautifully fine manner. “ Hence, this subtle coalition of beauty and ugliness became a salient feature in her work. Later, with a shift from a 2D to a 3D surface, her subject spread out to the prevailing conditions in Pakistan; she says, “No matter what is going around, it is still green on my land, life is going on.”
Khalil’s four brilliant pieces tiled, Let There Be a Soul I, II, III & IV are made using water mediums. The acrylics were a treat to the eyes. Her work is about decomposition, deterioration, retrogression and time (the way time runs and how it changes everything and what a body would look like if it weren’t subject to time). These kinds of questions are usually in her mind while working. Her work is also about exploring beauty in ugliness and vice versa.
Her four paintings are all linked together. Khalil says, “The process of this work started when I preserved a duck in a small box and I started painting the four sides of it separately (the idea of folding and then unfolding).”
It is about stopping time by trapping the body inside a small box. Her work also depicts Greek mythology. It’s a myth that the supreme god Zeus comes to Earth in the form of a white swan or duck.
Muhammad Raza Bukhari
Bukhari’s two art pieces titled Paradise Lost I and II were made using mixed media and talk about the power religion occupies in the contemporary world and how it’s used and manipulated accordingly. The Islamic patterns or motifs used in his paintings symbolise Islam, and the unfinished and blurred motifs represent the molding of religion by people.
Bukhari, says, “I grew up in Iran; I felt fascinated looking at Islamic motifs in every Persian house and also Persian style illuminations, decorative borders (Taz’heeb) and miniature paintings.”
These patterns display completion and the divine form. He used different mediums and techniques, for example screen printing, photo transfer, gouache on Vasli, pencil on Vasli and each speak their own language.
He is trying to show how somebody’s importance is realised after they are lost. The vague and unfinished motifs depict the changing of traditions and lack of clarity regarding religious concepts. The paintings also show personal changes that come in life and how people get more involved in worldly desires.
Asim’s four pieces titled Roots I, II, III & IV were made using oil on wood. These paintings are presented in the form of mini snapshots of ordinary scenes containing ordinary objects scattered in ordinary settings. Crowded interior of old spaces are shown to create the feel of an overcrowded space. She depicted the memories of her childhood through these paintings. “The work portrays memories of my personal journey through this time, the struggles I encountered and the lessons I have learned,” says Asim.
Colour, accumulation and repetition of material and objects help create the psychological atmosphere of the memories depicted in each of her paintings.
Ussama Bin Naveed
Naveed’s work displayed at the Taseer Art Gallery is titled A Backstreet of Anarkali. He uses oil paints on canvas and creates a quiet backstreet of Anarkali (a busy, loud and congested marketplace of Lahore). The painting is a simple cityscape depicting one of the many oasis of peace and quiet, nestled deep inside the noisy marketplaces of this city. The focus of his work has primarily been on the subduing effects of natural light on a harsh urban environment.
“Through my paintings I try to capture the warmth of sunlight that makes life in a concrete jungle livable. My visual vocabulary hails from the ‘mohallas’ (neighbourhoods) of middle class Lahore, where I had lived for four years, during my time at the National College of Arts Lahore,” comments Naveed.
Coming from Islamabad, Lahore for him was unbearably loud and congested. This inspired him to search for peaceful moments that seemed so evasive. “This search I believe has led me to paint the quieter moments of this city,” he says.
Even in the cacophony of Lahore, wonderful moments of peace and quiet can be experienced depending on where one is.
The exhibition started on Monday and will continue till March 23, 2014.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2014.
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