Unique perspective: Artists present stunning doppelgangers

I was struggling for days and could not get a clear visual in my head

The work represents a unique body of work, rare in Islamabad. PHOTOS: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS


An exhibition displaying artists’ perception of doppelgangers at the Khaas Art Gallery is a breath of fresh air. Doppelganger stands for an apparition or double of a living person.

The gallery’s curator, Aasim Akhtar, who is also a faculty member of the National College of Arts, Rawalpindi, said the double belongs unquestionably to a dark side of world mythology and folklore.

“It represents duality in its most perplexing and sinister aspect — the twin as monstrous or metamorphic duplicate of its original. Even stronger is the notion that it involves the risk that the duplicate will overwhelm and consume the entity that generates it,” he said.

The artwork, albeit falling under the theme of Doppelganger, varied from each other, which spoke volumes about how every artist has a different perception about the idea. It included acrylics on linen, graphite and charcoal on paper, charcoal and pastels on canvas, felt pen and gouache on paper, oil on canvas and digital print, and mixed media and gouache on wasli. This aspect of the exhibition was rather unique to be found in Islamabad.

Among some of the works that instantly caught one’s attention and left a lasting impact was Untitled by Anas Ghauri. The fineness and intricacy of his work was stunning. Inaam Zafar’s Virtual Shrink somehow seemed inspired by works of Andy Warhol displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Lost Inside Myself I and II by Madiha Hyder were both extremely eye-catching and possibly the best of the exhibit.

Hyder, who graduated from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi in 2006, said instead of approaching the theme in a more obvious manner like evil twin, look-alike, and ghost, etc, she decided to explore the concepts of alter-ego, inner conflicts, conscious mind versus the unconscious, and split personalities.

“I was struggling for days and could not get a clear visual in my head! Then I came across an online article about a groom who sued his bride one day after their wedding in the wake of seeing her without makeup. As hilarious as the article was, the idea of how make-up can completely transform a face became of interest to me and I decided to explore the possibilities on canvas,” she said.

Zafar told The Express Tribune that the references he uses in his work include allegories, notes, acquaintances, intense and forgotten learnt from different places at different times. “It is a technical investigation to understand the variant of void within sequences and clippings and the indescribable risk of misdirection. Through the process I conform to political efficacy, complicity and potential of referential image picked from highly accelerated image economy. I see my work as a tributary to theatrics that would speak about general disquiet of the world and diplomatic globalisation of terror,” he said.

The exhibition continues till October 11.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2015.


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