ISLAMABAD: The Satrang Gallery inaugurated an exhibition on Thursday, titled ‘Sharing the Same Sky,’ featuring printmakers from three countries who had participated in the Zaira Zaka Residencies programme.
Featuring the works of Mohammad Atif Khan and Zaira Ahmed from Pakistan, Li Yanbo from China and Sarah Hopkins from the United Kingdom, the collaboration between Satrang and the residencies programme has entered its third year as a cross-cultural exchange programme facilitating interaction between local and international printmakers.
Asma Rashid Khan, the director of Satrang, said: “‘Sharing the Same Sky’ is part of our effort to bring the best contemporary art to our audience.”
She said the collection showcased an ensemble of work that reflects the artists’ background and practice while remaining true to the theme.
The exhibition was inaugurated by UK High Commissioner Thomas Drew, who said: “I served in Pakistan from 2006 to 2008 and of the many changes that I see here now the surge of creativity is one of the most striking. I should probably speak about cultural diplomacy and the importance of people to people contact as this exhibition brings Pakistan’s artists together with artists from two of its closest allies but I will say instead that this is a wonderful exhibition.”
Serena Hotels CEO Aziz Boolani said: “The Satrang initiative is entirely to support and promote art and culture as the many artists, particularly younger ones, do not have a platform to display their work.”
Zaira Ahmad Zaka, the curator and a printmaker, said: “This exhibition is a part of artists’ residency project that I run through my studio and each year the residency culminates in an exhibition at the Satrang Gallery. Artists from other countries stay at the studio and we work together for three weeks, learning from each other, collaborating and experimenting.”
She said the physical aspect of the residency was not possible this year though she had worked with both the artists before. She said this time they decided on a theme and worked on it independently.
Clearly, there were consequences of not working in the same studio space as previous collaborations had resulted in shared techniques and common interpretations of the theme.
Ms Zaka said: “This time around, we remained in our own shells and did our thing as there was no collaboration. However, we did set a topic the exhibition which meant that no matter what is going in the world or where we live, we share the same sky.”
Each artist had a unique perspective and distinct style. Where Sarah Hopkins had screen-printed her piece, resulting in a layered opaque effect reminiscent of old photographs, Li Yanbo’s prints were extraordinary in their simplicity and the advance mezzotint technique used to produce them.
Ms Zaka’s own work centred on contrasts and was done entirely in black and white. Mr Khan’s work has been exhibited at the Aga Khan museum in Toronto and looks incredibly like miniature paintings, enlarged, detailed and containing an anachronistic element.
Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2016