Earth and art

August 25, 2019

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

KARACHI: The word ‘grounded’ is loaded with meaning. The magic of its multiplicity lies in the fact that it’s rooted in ‘ground’, which is to do with the earth. This means the emphasis is on rootedness. No matter who we are, what we become, we can never detach ourselves from the place we grow up in. This can be inferred as the crux of the subject of an exhibition of the latest body of work by Farrukh Adnan titled Earth Cover that is under way at the Koel Art Gallery.

The artist’s statement elucidates things with a perspective that also underlines the historicity of our collective lives: “I am interested in the archaeology of works that explore personal memory of space/place, collective historical events, cultural depictions of nature in the context of present times. Revealing aspects of history have a profound impact on our contemporary culture today.”

It is evident that Adnan wants to explore the connection between the past and the present with the help of the wisdom attained from archaeological expeditions. Explore, because he wishes not to repudiate any claim made by anyone; rather, his attempt is to connect the dots between two streams of time in a way that they should not emerge as conflicting. It works well for him since what, consequently, shines through is his impressive craft carried forward by his fondness for ‘land’.

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

In that context, the ‘Talumba’ series (pen and ink on canvas) is a giveaway. A town (or a space) that appears to be close to his heart, is treated with denseness that’s associated with the heaviness of being. Here, the reference is to memories. With the ‘Relic’ series (pen and ink on wasli) the heaviness gives way to lightness which the knowledge of discovery imbues one with. Fundamentally, though, in Adnan’s estimation, these are two sides of the same coin. It’s up to us to decipher which one is the obverse.

The exhibition concludes on Sept 5.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2019