Seedha Ulta opens at Sanat gallery

Published August 3, 2016
Photos by White Star
Photos by White Star

KARACHI: No matter how hard they try to remain detached from the world of politics, artists always find it fascinating. This shows even in those works of theirs which are not blatantly or openly political by nature. But it becomes doubly interesting when a painter or sculptor focuses on those who are actively involved in politics. However, the subject does not strike as noteworthy unless it has that essential element of surprise which provides followers of art with a fresh perception of the political arena. Anas Ghauri, an exhibition of whose works titled Seedha Ulta opened at the Sanat gallery on Tuesday evening, succeeds in surprising the viewer on multiple levels, the foremost of which is the fact that he imparts a new meaning to the saying ‘what you see is what you get’, and changing it to, in a manner of speaking, ‘what you see is what you don’t get’.

The five out of eight untitled displayed artworks (graphite and charcoal on paper) have the upside-down faces of some prominent political figures (hence the curator’s translation downside-up of seedha ulta). The exhibits are untitled because the faces are familiar. The only thing unfamiliar about them is that they’re hanging upside-down. Now this is reason enough to peruse the artworks closely, but that’s not the point where Ghauri wishes the viewer to stay. He wants whoever is looking at his artworks not to believe the artist but to look at them from a position, preferably downside-up, which is somewhat like from where the famous teacher John Keating in the film Dead Poets Society asks his students to see life.

There are other images in the show, for example that of a phati bunyaan (torn vest). And the tie that goes with the bunyaan makes it a politically inclined piece as well.

The exhibition will run till Aug 13.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2016

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