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Let there be light!

July 07, 2013

KARACHI, July 6: In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was with God and God was the Word. Then, sublimely God said “Let there be light!” And from out of all the darkness at the divine command light sprang. The sublime sentence “Let there be light!” is represented in significantly identical forms in most ancient accounts of creation. Light is also commonly used as a symbol of hope, purity and rebirth. The exhibition, “Glowing Culture”, which opened on Saturday at the Spaces Gallery, showcases the works of two textile designers Amna Khan and Zahabiya Abuzer, who interpret the connotations of lights in their own individual ways.

Both graduated from Textile Institute of Pakistan in 2011. Along with her practice as a designer, Ms Khan is currently teaching at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. Ms Abuzer designs for her brand Get Set Glow.

Ms Khan’s work is reminiscent of what the city of lights once was and explores the luminous local culture of Karachi. Her bright palette is derived from the streets of Karachi. Her pendant lamps titled “City of Lights” employ motifs from truck art, dhabas, architecture, qingqis and buses and in a way comment on the diversity that is inseparable from the identity of Karachi. Her fluorescently painted clutches are called “Ching Chis” and “Mini Buses”. These motifs come together in her works as a kind of commemoration to the diverse culture of Karachi.

While Ms Khan revels in the city of lights, Ms Abuzer searches for light in the depths of the sea. The latter’s work is inspired by bioluminescence, a phenomenon native to most deep sea creatures. Deep in the sea, where light can no longer penetrate, creatures have evolved their own ways to deal with darkness. Through bioluminescence these creatures emit light as defence, camouflage, distraction, warning and sometimes even to attract a mate. Ms Abuzer employs this animate mode of communication as a design constituent and creates playful collection. And thus in a way suggests that we could be the light.

Whether in a form of reminiscence, investigation through art or drawing room chats, dialogue about Karachi’s lost glory has become inevitable. As the boundaries between political and personal continue to fade, even our wardrobes have become a part of this pertinent debate.

The exhibition will continue till July 13.