Maidaan under way

June 06, 2018

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Sanya Hussain’s painting
Sanya Hussain’s painting

KARACHI: A multidisciplinary group show containing artworks of nine young artists titled Maidaan opened at the Koel Gallery on Monday.

Maidaan, as the curatorial note penned by Nurayah Sheikh Nabi explains, means an open space in a town used for public gatherings. This is true. Also true is the fact that the artists have taken the word as a larger metaphor of life, an open-ended idea that may or may not carry solutions to issues that have bogged down society or individuals (such as the artists themselves). On the whole, though, the exhibition has a streak of strong individualistic approach to art, which is a good thing. And within that individualism emerges a collective approach to life… and art.

Keeping that in mind, Sanaan Khalid Shamsi’s ‘Fictional Trajectories 1’ (oil on canvas) is a cogent example. The artist says that he is interested in ‘architectural spaces’ and how they (can) depict ‘emotions’. The artwork, though, goes a little beyond that, somewhat like a frozen shot of one of the final scenes of the film The Truman Show or an Edward Hopper painting, where vagaries of (physical) existence are delineated in a way that signifies an unending pursuit of life, with warts and all.

Sanya Hussain focuses on the issue of migration and homesickness. The striking feature of her art is the understated way in which she talks less and says a lot. ‘Feels Like Home’ (acrylic on canvas) is one painting that will influence the viewer by virtue of a gradual process. The more you stay with the artwork, the more it will grab your attention.

Sanaan Khalid Shamsi’s ‘Fictional Trajectories’
Sanaan Khalid Shamsi’s ‘Fictional Trajectories’

Zainab Abdul Hussain is interested in ‘covered objects’. Therefore, distinctiveness and concealment of distinctiveness becomes her subject. However, the viewer cannot help but praise the artist’s craft, that is, the finesse with which she uses graphite on paper.

The rest of the participating artists, whose work is no less worth commending but shortage of space doesn’t allow one to do so, are: Ameerah Shoaib Motiwala, Maha Minhaj, Mohammed Idris Runija, Noor Butt, Sakina Ali and Shanza Raza Khan.

The exhibition concludes on June 30.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2018