Collaborative initiative: Magic from Down Under

The exhibition features 25 works by Asif Khan and Damon Kowarsky.

LAHORE: An exhibition displaying the works of artists Atif Khan and Damon Kowarsky commenced at the Rohtas II art gallery on Tuesday.

The exhibition has been titled Hybrid II and features 25 hand-printed and photographic etchings. The artists have collaborated on 17 of the etchings and have contributed four works each individually. They had earlier collaborated at the National College of Arts in 2012 over Hybrid I, a series of 20 hand-printed etchings, inspired by Pakistan. Khan and Kowarsky started working on Hybrid II this year.

Asad Hayee, the curator, said Hybrid I had been exhibited two years ago. He said it was an interesting experience for him to review a collaborative effort between two artists who hailed from markedly different social milieus. Hayee said it was interesting to note how they responded to each others imagery.

Khan graduated with a degree in fine art from the National College of Arts in 1997. He has exhibited his work across Asia, North America and Europe to acclaim. Khan has also participated in art workshops in Jordan, Bangladesh and India.  He said Hybrid II could be understood as the continuation of a process that had started with Hybrid I. Khan said he and Kowarsky had initially started with exchanging images via e-mail. He said they would scan and send them over. Khan said the other artist would decide to treat the image as they deemed fit following the exchange.

Kangroos fight it out in Mughal-era attire in a collaborative piece titled Swordfight (top) Atif Khan’s Tiger roars from its frame. PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

He said this part of the project had taken nine months. Khan said they exchanged e-mails and developed a set of images from January to September. He said the production phase of the project was carried out at the NCA in October and November where they worked together to render the etching by hand.

Kowarsky was born in Australia in 1973 and studied printmaking at the Victorian College of the Arts, the Glasgow School of Art and advanced figure drawing with Godwin Bardbeer at the RMIT University in Melbourne. He taught drawing at the Beaconhouse National University (BNU) in 2007 and studied miniature painting from Murad Mumtaz and Mahreen Zuberi. Kowarsky also taught at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 2010. He has travelled extensively and has exhibited his work internationally. Kowarsky derives inspiration from architecture and the colours of the earth and the sky. He said Hybrid II was technically more complicated in comparison to Hybrid I. Kowarsky said they had employed a similar technique with regard to hand drawn and photographic etching as in the earlier exhibit but had complicated it where ever they found scope to do so. He said while Hybrid I was primarily about investigating Pakistan Hybrid II was premised around exploring the Commonwealth of Nations. He said while Hybrid II featured traditional favourites like the kangaroo from Australia both the artists had resolved to use things that caught their interests as subjects.

The Australian government has assisted the project through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. The exhibition will conclude on December 13.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2014.



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