Milestones and more

Published July 9, 2015
The first sighting by Shanzay Sabzwari. / Photos by White Star
The first sighting by Shanzay Sabzwari. / Photos by White Star

KARACHI: To mark the first anniversary of the Sanat Gallery, an exhibition of new paintings made by the artists who had exhibited their works at the gallery during the past one year opened on Tuesday.

Titled Milestones, the exhibition contains artworks of more than a dozen painters. One could safely say that there were as many ideas on view as there were artworks. Sometimes repetitiveness of concepts lends an air of intellectual ennui to a show. Not here. Each artist appears to be brimming with ideas that are not at all abstract or abstruse. And despite being unambiguous, the execution is far from being realistic. For example, Mohsin Shafi’s three artworks ‘Are we there yet’, ‘184 minutes of fame’ and ‘Uran Patola’ (mixed media on collage) are a commentary on life that was and what it has become, that is, the tussle between tradition and modernity, between violent history and the pursuit of a peaceful future. But it is not easy for the viewer to find the reference point from where Shafi intends to begin his discourse. And that’s what makes his effort intriguing.

184 minutes of fame by Mohsin Shafi./ Photos by White Star
184 minutes of fame by Mohsin Shafi./ Photos by White Star

Similarly, Shanzay Sabzwari blurs the difference between text and subtext. This means the artist in her work ‘The first sighting’ (gouache on wasli) is trying to examine the human condition in which what’s being looked at does not necessarily mean that it is also what one desires. However, on surface the viewer will take the painting as a satirical work. It is not. It is a serious attempt.

Perhaps the highlight of the exhibition is Hamida Khatri’s astounding ‘I see you looking at me’ and ‘Plagued’ (graphite and watercolor on wasli). The artist is in a league of her own. Her uninhibited approach to depicting a (social) fact and turning it into an unpalatable truth is more than special. At the same time, she makes sure that during the process she doesn’t compromise the visual charm involved in the discipline of art. She has this uncanny ability to personify even the simplest of lines (that she draws).

The other participating artists are Inaam Zafar, Suleman Aqeel Khilji, Sajid Khan, Numair Abbasi, Ghulam Mohammad, Anas Ghauri, Naveed Sadiq, Abid Aslam, Zahid Mayo and Kiran Saleem.

The exhibition will continue till July 25.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2015

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