ISLAMABAD: Gallery 6 is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a Manto-inspired exhibition titled Jub Manto Se Meri Mulaqat Hui, which will open on Saturday.

The new exhibition includes artworks by 13 artists who have based their works on the stories and other writings of the late writer. The artworks include paintings, sculptures, prints and miniature.

The artists whose works are part of the display are Abrar Ahmad, Ali Azmat, Arjumand Faisel, Farrukh Shahab, Irfan Gul, Irum Wani, Masood A. Khan, Mughees Riaz, Muhammad Sajjad Akram, Sana Zara, Shiblee Muneer and Zaira Ahmed Zaka.

The curator of the gallery, Dr Arjumand Faisel said they wanted to celebrate 10 years of the gallery by paying tribute to a literary figure through visual arts and that Manto was the undisputed choice.

“I gave the challenge to selected artists who work in different genre and with diverse mediums to present their interpretations of Manto’s writings, stories and characters. Their outstanding works are not adorning the gallery walls,” he said on preview day.

The artworks include characters from Manto’s works including Shikari Aurtein, Hattak, Toba Tek Singh and others, his discourse on the two-nation theory and also on how the artists have perceived his writings.

Visitors are greeted by a sculpture titled Letter to Uncle Sam which is made by Mohammad Sajjad Akram and Sana Zara.

Then come large paintings by Irfan Gul Darhi titled Khuli Dukaan and Saadat Hasan. Mugheez’ works are passed on the story Kali Shalwaar and Masood Khan has created Thanda Gosht with grout on board, which is a form of concrete.

Rind’s thought provoking conversation with Manto and Ali Azmat’s striking use of red for his conceptual compositions are noteworthy. Abrar’s Chalaak Aurtain is conspicuous by distinct deviation from his usual work. His painting titled Kali Shalwaar is stunning and it appears as if the painting is several decades old and was made in the time when the story was written.

One also observes an interesting difference in interpretation of the character Sougandhi of Hattak by two artists belonging to two different generations and working in different mediums – Irum Wani and Arjumand Faisel. Both create their impact in exciting ways of treatment. Zaira Ahmed Zaka has used etching, aquatint in an impressive way to present her impressions of the story Baghair Ijazat. Shiblee Muneer’s miniature paintings on Dou Qaumi Nazriya are also striking.

The exhibition will continue till March 20.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2018

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