An evening with Indian Artists coverage at the T2F.–Photo by White Star

KARACHI: Art lovers gained insight into contemporary art trends in India by virtue of two interesting presentations given by visiting Indian artists, Manisha Parekh and Ashok Ahuja, at T2F

Manisha Parekh was the first one to give a visual presentation to introduce her work to the audience. She began by her on-foot journey to Pakistan from the Wagah border. She said being a Gujarati she was not directly affected by partition, therefore her crossing the border was without any (psychological) baggage. She termed the travel ‘bizarre’ because it was easy, so close and yet so far. She then showed slides of her work taken from different exhibitions.

Shefurther mentioned that she was fascinated more by the process of coming up with artworks in which the texture of material, such as paper, was used. She experimented with the material she used and got excited to see what form and shape they assumed, she said. The media of the works that the artist talked about included graphite paintings, gouache paintings and reliefs made from jute ropes.

Answering a question asked by a member of the audience, Parekh said while working, she sometimes developed a relationship with the material. On occasions it happened otherwise and the material drew her to itself. Responding to a query about her influences, she said she had initially learned from Nasreen Mohammedi and was also impressed with Zarina Hashmi.

Ashok Ahuja started his presentation with an excerpt from a film that he made in the early 1980s titled ‘Aadharshila’ (The Foundation Stone). He reasoned that he wanted to know whether the content of the movie still had elements of truth in it.

The film pivots around a budding filmmaker who is about to start his career but confronts difficulties as he goes along in his endeavor to achieve his goal. The clip shown by the artist had the celebrated Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah as the protagonist in it.

After that Ahuja talked about an exhibition of his work held in 2003. He said it was a result of him getting his hands on a digital camera in 1998 when digital cameras were first introduced. He took pictures with it. Some of the images on display in the 2003 exhibition were digitally created and some were prints. He followed it up with a piece of animation, which impressed the audience.

Another set of slides that Ahuja ran was to with digital prints based on images related to medical science. The exhibition from which they were taken was titled Translucence. He talked about the use of light and his fascination with architecture.

Replying to a question, Ahuja said he was always interested in seeing art as being universal.

He also touched on his research on the growth of a language (Urdu) and its relation with identity with reference to its (language’s) origin and territory. He argued it was an ongoing process and coming to Pakistan, meeting with a variety of people, had helped him in that regard.


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