ISLAMABAD: In a new painting exhibition at My Art World gallery, famous women of Pakistan such as Fatima Jinnah, Mukhtaran Mai and Malala Yousafzai are on display.

The visuals are not obvious and have to be read through shapes because that’s how the artist, Ahmer Farooq, wants his visitors to see them. While the images made some numb and unable to feel much, other visitors found the display intriguing.

“The detail is incredible. As an artist I really feel like breaking into his work,” said Faizaan Ahab at the show which opened on Friday.

Titled ‘Eve in all her hues’, the display is dedicated to all the famous women of Pakistan who have made their mark some way or the other.

“The tension between the social roles adopted and the complex person underneath is the theme behind my new body of work. I have explored the complexity, allure and beauty of women that have captured my imagination,” said Farooq who has studied business but pursued art as a passion.

These images draw viewers to contemplate what they see in the representation of the women in front of them. Famous lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jehangir is surrounded by legal texts and symbolic colours and patterns. The painting reads like a commentary on the hostility, distrust, support, and admiration that this Pakistani woman has courted over her illustrious career.

Film actress Resham’s figure is made up of tiny portraits from every angle. In the work titled ‘Malala’, the painter explores the cultural icon with the same chutzpah and tragedy that is associated with the brave girl from Swat. Texts from schoolbooks, blood-tinged hues and patterns surround the silhouette of a girl that seems crucified on the altar of complex social politics and tensions.

Farooq explained to his guests how he had spoken to some of the subjects to feel how they were like in their private lives as well as read about them.

Arsalan Khan purchased the work ‘Adam’ for it was the only male impression painted by the artist.

“I was immediately attracted to the psychedelic colours. The works are interesting because of the effort the artist has put into the works before painting his characters,” said the visitor.

Other famous personalities that inspired the painter were Begum Nawazish Ali for doing roles that take plenty of courage and Adam and Eve.

“What I particularly found interesting was the detail in abstraction and the use of colours to symbolise the essence behind each piece. Paintings have stories to tell through their multiple layers about women belonging to distinct segments of society,” said the curator of the show, Zara Sajid. The show will continue till May 22.

Published in Dawn May 16th , 2015

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