An exhibition featuring work by Faiza Butt opened at Rohtas 2 Gallery on Wednesday.
The display, titled Paracosm 2, is an extension of Butt’s exhibition at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The show features 20 pieces by the artist.
Talking to The Express Tribune, former National College of Arts principal Salima Hashmi said Butt’s work depicted how the Islamic culture was scrutinised in the aftermath of 9/11.
“Her work also shows that at times, we are our own worst enemies,” said Hashmi.
“Butt’s work offers a glimpse into the lives of the underprivileged,” she said. “There is beauty in contradictions in Butt’s art,” she said.
Hashmi said Butt’s work also borrowed imagery from Kashmir.
“The artist is a Kashmiri and grew up hearing stories of the beauty of Kashmir,” said Hashmi.
“Her fascination with Kashmir is best showcased in her duratrans light boxes,” she said.
The background of the duratrans light box series titled The Unsaid showed mountains covered in snow. A lush green valley stretched beneath. Two figures were shown on the edge of the display.
On top of this, the artist had a quote from Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Postcard from Kashmir, another display in the duratan series, quoted Agha Shahid. The text looked like gold jewellery.
“Butt’s work is about the human condition, where she shows pain and juxtaposes it with beauty,” Hashmi said.
“It reminds us that beauty is ephemeral,” she said.
“Paracosm refers to the vivid imagination of a child,” said Asad Hayee, curator of the gallery.
He said though the artist lived in the United Kingdom, she was influenced by Pakistani culture.
“She has displayed her work over here several time,” he said.
He said the artist was abreast of contemporary political issues and commented on those in her work.
Critic Qudduz Mirza said Butt’s work was a comment on consumerism.
“Culture has given in to demands of the consumer,” he said.
He said Butt seemed to be conscious of the political turmoil surrounding Islam globally.
“The sculptures shown in some of the duratrans light boxes look like historical monuments destroyed by Daesh,” he said.
Mirza said while Butt seemed politically conscious, her work was too abstract.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2015.