Nomadic issues

Published December 14, 2021
Two pieces of art work displayed at the exhibition.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Two pieces of art work displayed at the exhibition.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Last year, Nomadland won the Oscar award in the best film category. Based on a book Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, it tells the tale of a woman who dwells in a van and who, after her husband’s passing, travels across the US. Although it’s a common phenomenon, the idea sounds a trifle outlandish in the digital age.

A group show — participated by 22 artists — having the name Nomad that’s under way at the Full Circle Art Gallery doesn’t wholly subscribe to the meaning of the word. It investigates the extremely important and timeless issues of ‘identity, freedom and resistance’.

How so? The curator Shanal Kazi’s statement gives answer to the query but by raising many other questions: “[With] the advent of social media, art can transcend everywhere. Identity — is it regressive, and how does one unleash freedom? If so, how does one represent the resistance? Is [it] the resistance to ourselves, within ourselves or collective? Is the freedom within ourselves a pact we make or is in a collective [sense]? The identity of our nation has been fraught with tumult, much of the history written or re-written to suit the writer. Much of the notion of our ‘self’ is undoubtedly fraught with a similar tumult — how do we decide what self to embrace?”

These questions and many more represent the kind of unease that the artist community feels about contemporary life. They can be categorised as existential inquiries aimed to extract meaning out of mostly disturbing round-the-clock goings-on. The works on display in the gallery do indicate that the creative souls of our time try not to lose sight of both the aesthetics involved in creating art and the issues that lend meaning to their aesthetic sense.

The names of those whose works are on view in the show are: Anushka Rustomji, Faizan Reidinger, Zoila Brenna Solomon, Zaam Arif, Raheela Abro, Erum Akhtar, Yusra Taqi Allawala, Syed Faraz Ali, Ramsha Rabbani, Anya Akhtar, Changez Khan, Areeb Tariq, Sundeep Kumar, Laiba Abid, Mahnoor Salman, Ahsan Memon, Mehreen Fatima, Imran Nafees, Hiba Karim, Kiran Waseem, Anaab Z Hamid and Beygum Bano. The exhibition concludes on Tuesday (today).

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2021

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