KARACHI: The term U-Turn usually has negative connotations because it implies opting for a compromising course as opposed to the previously taken right(eous) one. It also has positive implications, for example, when artists choose to get out of their comfort zones to further push the boundaries of their art, they’re basically travelling down the road not taken. The idea for the group show titled U-Turn that opened at the Sanat art gallery on Tuesday seems to lean towards the latter.
In terms of content, all the eight participating artists have come up with interesting exhibits. The organisers of the event feel that the caption under which the exhibition has been put together is to do with ‘experimentation’. They may be right. But more than the techniques employed by the artists, it is the topics that they have chosen to express their views on which makes the viewing exciting. It may be noticed from the very first exhibit, ‘Enter 3’ (photograph) by Saima Salahuddin. Her interpretation of the phrase ‘two sides of the same coin’ is intriguing. The instant the viewer tries to understand the blackened, stuck-out tongue of the protagonist, the two identical images, one of them upside down, become a single picture. It enables the viewer to realise that the face and the mind are readily replaceable.
Sana Nasir’s ‘Exitstance’ (acrylic, spray paint, etching on wood) explores the frenzied nature of existence as we get caught up in the swirls of incessant movement. She is looking for certain underwhelming moments that, in a roundabout way, would suggest to her an exit strategy from the hullabaloo of life. She uses the symbol of a door that she has to confront — much like Truman Burbank has to in that brilliant Peter Weir film — and go through.
Farhan Ali lends a delectable variety to the overall atmosphere by trying to examine the West’s cultural impact on this side of the globe. In doing so, he makes Spiderman his central figure — a super hero whose influence cuts through geographical boundaries. It is against this backdrop that ‘Desi Spiderman’ (gouache on wasli) assumes significance, for it diminishes the distance (and difference) between internationality and locality.
The other artists taking part in the exhibition, whose works are no less impressive, are Samina Islam, Jabar Baloch, Batool Mandvi, Arsalan Nasir and Sara Pagganwala.
U-Turn, curated by Samina Islam, will continue until Oct 11.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2016