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Unsaid words, unwritten thoughts

Updated June 02, 2017
Hira Zubair’s artwork -Photos by White Star
Hira Zubair’s artwork -Photos by White Star

KARACHI: Why do we need to write down ideas? There can be many answers to the question, one of which is: to propagate them at the appropriate time. What if we don’t do that? It means we don’t want to share them with anyone for personal or impersonal reasons. A group exhibition titled Unwritten Thoughts that is going to conclude on June 2 (today) at the Art Chowk Gallery does not quite aim to bring forth such ideas but it tries to minimise the distance between the inexpressible and the expressed.

It would be unjust not to begin talking about the show with Hira Zubair’s fine, fine gouache-on-wasli paper artworks. The use of the siyah qalam in some of them lends a unique touch to her effort and there is unmistakable finesse to it. Her exhibits in which trees feature as the main motif have such a delectable quality that one feels like revisiting nature — nature, with warts and all. This act of revisiting is something that cannot be written down in words.

Shamsuddin Tanwri’s painting -Photos by White Star
Shamsuddin Tanwri’s painting -Photos by White Star

Similarly, Sheema Khan raises the issue of innocence in a way that its meaning becomes unfamiliar. In ‘Find Love’ the artist urges the viewer to think beyond the determined sense of the word ‘love’. The idea is to make us realise that meanings, like conclusions to mysteries, are reached. One has to strive to get there. And that journey suggests: to each his own.

Shamsuddin Tanwri focuses on characters, unwritten and perhaps unsung. The unsung element is the life that commoners lead to whom society doesn’t attach importance as much as it should. Tanwri captures one such individual in an untitled gouache-on-wasli piece. The viewer for a moment thinks that it’s the attire of the character that the artist has concentrated more on. No. The face is the story.

‘Find Love’ by Sheema Khan -Photos by White Star
‘Find Love’ by Sheema Khan -Photos by White Star

Other participating artists, whose attempt at writing the unwritten is no less significant, are: Mohammad Zaman, Qutub Rind and Adnan Ali.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2017