Language of lines

Published November 9, 2017
Three of the exhibits on display.—White Star
Three of the exhibits on display.—White Star

KARACHI: In his remarkable essay ‘Tradition and Individual Talent’ T.S. Eliot writes that no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. He insinuates that artists employ language that has developed over many a century. Obviously, the formidable critic and poet wants his readers to understand that we are all part of a large continuum and even when we try and detach ourselves from it, it reinforces our association with itself. Artist Ghulam Hussain, an exhibition of whose latest body of work titled Mind=Blown is under way at the Sanat Art Gallery, is aware of it. One doesn’t know whether he is aware of Eliot’s ideas, but he does appear to believe in similar notions.

Looking at Hussain’s work the first thing that springs to mind is some traditional block prints used in Sindh. Well, the artist is achieving more, without losing sight of tradition, and by using tradition as a springboard to turn familiar line-based patterns into a matrix representing the maze of life.

Hussain’s medium is graphite on canvas. Now graphite suggests greyness — greyness of concepts. This greyness (not to mention a striking combo of black and white colours) is highlighted by puzzling lines that give the impression as if what’s in front of the viewer is a big labyrinth. The closer one looks at the labyrinth, the clearer it will be to understand that the artist is hinting at those aspects of the visual sense which are not readily graspable. What you see is not what you always get.

Amidst all of this is Hussain’s craft. The craft, of all the things mentioned here, is more to do with the tradition that the artist belongs and adheres to. And this is what makes his effort worth taking note of.

The exhibition will conclude on Nov 14.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2017

Opinion

Editorial

Mianwali raid
Updated 02 Feb, 2023

Mianwali raid

The military needs to share intelligence with civilian agencies to neutralise the militant menace nationwide.
Corruption unlimited
02 Feb, 2023

Corruption unlimited

PAKISTAN’S consistent slide on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index over the last several...
Women police officers
02 Feb, 2023

Women police officers

IN a heartening development, a second female police officer has been appointed as DPO in Attock, weeks after the...
Road to perdition
Updated 01 Feb, 2023

Road to perdition

This is also the time of reckoning for those who sowed the seeds of a disastrous policy against militants.
Transport tragedies
01 Feb, 2023

Transport tragedies

TWO tragedies over the weekend illustrate the weak protocols governing the safety of transport in Pakistan. In fact,...
Disqualifying Jam Awais
01 Feb, 2023

Disqualifying Jam Awais

IT appears that there may be some kind of small punishment after all for PPP lawmaker Jam Awais, who was pardoned ...