In a throwback to traditional miniature art, two contemporary artists exhibited their recent works at the Jharoka Art Gallery on Tuesday.
Tallat Fatima explores the intricate design of the universe in all its glory. “My work includes diverse landscapes,” she said, adding that it is actually dots, dashes and other symbolic techniques that enable her to trace minute patterns.
Her work on display focuses on images of sunflowers, the intricacies of motifs within as well as sea shells which are a source of life according to the artist. She has also drawn a candid black-and-white portrait of her daughter Hafsa, who is playing guitar by the serene Rawal Lake.
Conscientious in the choice of her material, she has incorporated handmade paper in her work. “We use paper but we should not be wasting it,” she said.
Fatima, a gold medalist, holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi. She has participated in various national and international art exhibitions.
Artist Carol John aims to revive the dying art form through her practice. For instance, in what appears to be the portrait of a monarch from the olden days, she has painted her cousin Joshua to transform the three-dimensional model into a two-dimensional piece of art. Her other pieces showcase an eastern couple in various situations and guises.
“During the British rule, traditional miniature art was replaced with the title of craft, I want to revive the traditional miniature painting and its elegance” said the artist who has been trained by the traditional miniature exponent Ustad Bashir Ahmed. Her work examines the beauty, warmth, rich colour and tranquility, a sort of dystopia which is far removed from the bustle of the modern world. A graduate of the National College of the Arts, Lahore, she is currently teaching at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology. She recalled being inspired by her mentor RM Naeem back in sophomore year at college. “He said we are here to learn not to do what we already know,” she recalled. “And that was for a defining moment for me as a miniature artist,” she added.
“Very few miniature artists are working on miniature these days so it is a pleasure for me to unveil these pieces. Whereas in Tallat’s work we find symbolism, Carol has depicted the themes of romanticism with finesse and intricacy,” said Nahida Raza, the gallery curator and director.
Shehlla Moazzam, an artist and visitor at the gallery, commended the juxtaposition of contemporary ideas with the traditional art form, which she dubbed as innovative.
The current exhibition that was inaugurated by Arif Masoud will continue at the gallery till April 5.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2014.