ISLAMABAD: ‘Re-Constructing Home’, an eclectic brilliant new exhibition opened at the Satrang Gallery featuring works of four young artists from Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan.

Gopa Triverdi, Javaria Ahmad, Pradeep Thalawatta and Sundas Azfer systematically defined and redefined the concepts of personal and public space and the constant negotiation between the two.

According to Sundas Azfer, who also curated the show ‘Human beings’, both individually and as groups, tend to claim exclusive control over physical space. Exercising such control gives them satisfaction regarding identity, security and stimulation, which is good for their psychological well being.

Asma Rashid Khan, director of Satrang Gallery, said: “The Gallery takes the lead in celebrating art in all its forms and bridging the art scene with Pakistan’s neighbouring countries. In ‘Reconstructing Home’ we showcase the works of artists from the subcontinent who have all worked together on one idea.”

She expressed her gratitude to the CEO of Serena, Aziz Boolani, for his continuing support of young artists and artisans.

The exhibition was inaugurated by the Sri Lankan ambassador, retired Air Chief Marshal Jayalath Weerakkody, who expressed his delight at seeing the work of Sri Lankan artist Pradeep, as part of the exhibition. Pradeep studied at the Beaconhouse National University on a Saarc scholarship.

The ambassador said: “I am delighted to see multiple countries featured together in a single exhibition. Art builds bridges between people and cultures. I am not a person who knows much about art but the artists are here to discuss their work.”

Deputy High Commissioner of India J.P. Singh also visited the exhibition.

He said: “I congratulate Satrang on this initiative under which four young people from the same region are expressing themselves through their creations.”

India’s former chief election commissioner, Dr S.Y. Qureshi, also graced the occasion and narrated the story of his own thwarted artistic ambitions when his art teacher tore up his drawing of a rabbit.

“Art has truly survived through the centuries only because of the patronage of people in power. Without organisations like Serena which host such exhibitions and the individuals who attend them, art would be lost to us,” he added.

Serena Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aziz Boolani echoed Mr Qureshi’s views and expressed his commitment towards promoting art and artisans in Pakistan.

“The exhibition of handcrafted artwork is a hallmark of Serena Hotels across the world,” he said.

Diplomatic Corps Dean and Ambassador of Argentina Rodolfo Martin-Saravia said: “Art is unique in that it communicates without the limitation of language, unlike music or literature. Sharing the art of other cultures brings us closer together.”

Indian artist Gopa Trivedi, who was unable to attend the exhibition, wrote: “My work mostly deals with space, degeneration, time, fragmentation, fragmented spaces and what constitutes them. These fragments evolve out of people, memories, stories and instances of daily life, which I observe and experience on a day to day basis.”

Regarding Trivedi’s work Naheed Bilgrami said: “I find Gopa’s work most interesting as she portrays constrained domestic spaces which are both enclosing as safe spaces and imprisoning.”

Artist Javaria Ahmad said: “My ceramic forms are sculptural in appearance, created in terra cotta and stoneware. By and large, these forms are hand built, employing geometric and lineal details. Repetition is a major element of my work, whether it’s a repetition of some form or of an element.”

Sri Lankan artist Pradeep Thalawatta, who presented a performance video of life in a city, said: “I simply capture interconnections of the general public. This space intertwines us in shared moments as we understand the functionality of a city and its realities. The reaction of the public to the actions being played out in the performance also became a huge and imperative part of the performance itself.”

Mamoona Riaz said: “Satrang is continuing its tradition of bridging artists and art from neighbouring countries. The idea of belonging and the dichotomy of existence are particularly relevant in this age of globalisation.”

A guest, Hurmatul Ain, said: “This show captures the range of ideas that circulate around the concept of home – from the image of the home to the documentation of the domestic space and subversions of domesticity and privacy. It is admirable how the realistic is blending into the surreal.”

Published in Dawn February 12th , 2015

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