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Slice of life

May 09, 2019

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Three of the artworks on display at the exhibition.—White Star
Three of the artworks on display at the exhibition.—White Star

KARACHI: Senior artist Masood A. Khan is master at portraying the relationship between day-to-day life and nature as a symbiotic one. The way life assumes different shapes for different individuals and nature’s role in that entire process is what the artist focuses on. This can be seen at an exhibition titled Boond Boond Barasti Yaadon Ki Barish of Khan’s paintings at the Koel Art Gallery.

For the ongoing show, Khan has worked with ink, primarily. It lends the kind of a soft ambience that he is looking for to infuse his subject with. He also wants the viewer to realise that not all is hunky-dory on planet earth, particularly in the part of the world he lives in. ‘Dopaher’ (ink and charcoal on paper) is an exhibit that depicts this thought well. The human characters immersed in their activities are oblivious to the light that’s illuminating them –– and it is as essential to their beings as anything else. The source of light, apparently, is not singular. The viewer will know that instinctively but will find it hard to figure out what the artist means by it. The meaning is rather simple: what we deal with on a daily basis becomes part of our being, wittingly or unwittingly.

The piece or one of the pieces where Khan drives this point home with more creative vigour is called ‘Zindagi ki jaanch’ (ink on paper). It is a sensitive exhibit which through its three characters narrates a story that the viewer is already familiar with –– mostly in a textual form. Here, the artist has given it a concrete visual body (a woman on her knees pleading for something to a man) without compromising on his trademark soft colour tones. The softness, again, is to do with taking the heaviness, not intensity, of the issue out of the equation because art doesn’t deal with life hammer and tongs; it has the all-important element of suggestibility which opens up possibilities for all kinds of outcomes, including by giving our yaadein (memories) an unusual twist. The show concludes on May 16.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2019