KARACHI: The use of oxymoronic expressions is not rare in any creative pursuit. Art is no different. So when one reads the title of a group show, Eternal Ephemeral — which is under way at the Full Circle Gallery — there’s very little element of surprise in it. What is surprising, pleasantly at that, is the high quality of art, put together by no fewer than eight talented artists using a variety of media and subjects.
Let’s talk first about the two important references (eternal and ephemeral) to get the hang of the drift of the show. Everyone knows what eternity means: infinite time. Ephemeral is quite the opposite: it hints at the transient aspect of living beings’ existence. It is obvious that the curator of the display, Irfan Gul Dahri, is putting together two contrasting forces — the impermanence of life and the permanence of art — to drive his point home: art imitates life in such a way that it surpasses the original.
This reminds one of a famous line from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, when Hamlet’s father has died, causing him to brood over the death, and his mother Gertrude comes to console him and says, “All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.” Notice how she juxtaposes the short-lived characteristic of human life (calling it nature) with the infiniteness of afterlife (eternity). This is exactly what the painters who have presented their works in the show are trying to achieve. By touching upon a wide array of topics — from what transpires in the mind to the tussle for power to the spirituality inherent in colours — with a remarkable degree of incisiveness and aesthetic grace.
The participating artists of the exhibition, which concludes on Aug 31, are: Ali Gillani, Eeman Masood, Feroza Hakeem, Firdous Mangi, Hooria Khan, Shahid Hassan Boni, Umnah Laraib and Zafar Ali.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2021