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All about social objects

Updated May 30, 2017
Another artwork on display / An artwork by Hamid Ali Hanbhi
Another artwork on display / An artwork by Hamid Ali Hanbhi

KARACHI: One should be extremely careful while using metaphors, because if used inaptly or without a strong streak of creativity, they can backfire and self-destruct the whole process. This is not the case with a four-person exhibition titled Social Objects that’s under way at the Canvas Art Gallery. Here the word objects, which usually suggests inanimate things, have been used as a metaphor for human life and… death.

No better demonstration of this notion can be seen than in Arslan Farooqi’s work. He sets the tone for the theme of the show with a life-size installation called ‘Dying Inayat’. Death signifies the end of a journey in this mortal world. In some cultures it’s considered as a hiatus, a brief stop to another destination. Farooqi toys with all these concepts and wants the viewer to think of death as part of a deal we call life. The pillows around the body that’s at the centre of the installation hint at a resting posture rather than fateful position. The artist seems to come from the school of thought for whom it’s the journey not the destination that matters.

Ehsan Memon tackles the issue of how to distinguish between the real and the fictitious. Basically, he is talking about perceptions that can lead to deception. The artist’s sculptures assume a deeper meaning once the viewer gets the hang of this idea.

Hamid Ali Hanbhi digs into hard-core cultural issues in his colourful untitled oil-on-canvas paintings. In one exhibit he piles up a variety of caps and gives the impression as if there’s not much difference in them. Actually, there is, depending which side of the social divide you are on.

Ahsan Javaid takes the show to a cosmic level in order to highlight the vastness of the subject. But then even his two pieces ‘Heaven’ and ‘Earth’ (fabric in acrylic box) can’t help but retain the textural value of the world we live. The texture, however, needs to be felt more than understood.

The exhibition will run until June 1.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2017