SOME of the art pieces displayed at the exhibition.—White Star
SOME of the art pieces displayed at the exhibition.—White Star

KARACHI: In these times when art is flourishing in the country as, arguably, the most vigorous form of expression, holding group shows can be pretty challenging. The reason is simple: art generally pivots around themes. To thematically connect works by more than two or three artists made with a variety of media and backed by diverse creative processes is no mean feat. Here, a question can be raised: is it important to find the link?

A 10-person show titled Compendium that can be viewed at the Full Circle Gallery has this charming quality about it that it can be seen both as a contextually unified effort and as something where the individuality of artists lends uniqueness to the whole exercise. Perhaps this is the reason why the organisers have named it compendium — a collection of bits of information about a singular topic.

The participating artists are: Aiman Taha Khan, Areeba Nadeem, Fizza Batool, Fahad Iqtadar, Halah Khan, Lukshan Rubab, Ruqaia Abdul Aziz, Syeda Sheeza Ali, Syeda Warda Batool and Umaimah Khan. As far as their inspirations go, they range from nature to wildlife and from psychological disorders to billet-doux. Isn’t that a fascinating mix?

Again, what binds them together is hard to tell. While all of them are quite adept at creating art, technically speaking, it can be claimed that their khayalaat have been gleaned from their dreams. Now we know that dreams are purely distinctive in essence. Also, sometimes it becomes difficult to distinguish between a dream and a nightmare. Here, there’s hardly a case of the latter. If any of the artworks carry innate pain, then it’s largely to do with societal shortcomings. These artists want their society to prosper and be rancour-free. This is the utopia that all thinking beings look for. While doing so, they can’t help but paint all the dystopian elements that worry them. And this is the point which makes this exhibition, which will conclude on June 12, very interesting.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021

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