Artists rely on colours to speak their mind

Published June 5, 2022
— Photos by Tanveer Shahzad
— Photos by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: A new group show opened at Khaas Gallery on Saturday, featuring works of six contemporary artists who are all graduates of the National College of Arts (NCA).

Contemporaneous has been curated by art critic Asim Akhtar.

Among the six visual artists is Hamza bin Faisal, who graduated with a distinction in 2022, from the NCA, Lahore.

His work spans different media and material, ranging from digital art to traditional drawing, miniature/painting, printmaking and sculpture. His work aims at exploring the self, the existence and multiple visual allegories about ethical and social dilemmas.

“My work initially began with the concern of displacement and confinement. From there I began to explore how a space could associate to a box. Always had this fascination with architecture and later, upon finding interest in traditional Persian and Mughal miniature painting style, I drew my inspiration to develop this body of work,” he said.

“I use sepia, greys and browns to try and evoke ideas about nostalgia. These spaces often carry a sense of absence, contested histories, fragments of memories and traces of lost voices, resurfacing a dialogue with the viewer to suggest or reveal the depths of truth confined within these walls,” Mr Faisal said on the opening day.

The other artist who works are on display is Ramsha Haider, another artist who graduated with distinction in fine arts from the NCA Lahore.

She drew inspiration from her surroundings and was interested in all forms of literature, especially epic poems.

“I took inspiration from the poem ‘Conference of the Birds’ written by Persian Sufi poet Fariduddin Attar of Nishapur. His masterpiece is an epic allegory of the seeker’s journey to God. One of my main concerns while making artworks is to keep traditional aspects of miniature alive along with having a contemporary feel to the overall imagery. I do that by handpicking my elements of paintings, appropriating them and compiling them to the point I get the desired results,” she said.

Mohammad Sulaiman’s current body of work is about an old saying,Chaadar Dekh Kar Paon Phailao,which means ‘cut your coat according to your cloth’.

“I am more focused on western references that are influencing me through my history and current media. This Chaadar reminds me of my limitations and what I should think and what I should not,” he said.

Mohammad Sulaman is a miniature artist who studied at Government College University, Lahore and received the ‘Best Artist Award’ for both 2009 and 2010. After mastering more skills under the supervision of R.M. Naeem, he graduated from NCA Lahore in 2015.

Muzna Mahmood graduated in fine arts from NCA. She explores the idea of ‘peace’ in relation to acceptance and ignorance, and is primarily influenced by her surroundings.

“The subconscious and conscious state conjure intricate layers from visual cues around me. And I create a narrative by slowly building layers upon layers, with traditional technique of Pardakht, by exploring visual representation of varying perspectives,” she said.

Living in Lahore, Sibtain Ghazi also graduated in fine arts (miniature paintings) from the NCA in 2015.

He does not like to use references and his works are brief stories comprising of an eternal sublime song of nature in which the creature by its decomposition meets all its fellow creatures in its trans-universe journey while keeping intact its identity. The scene clearly shows its divine, unseen helper.

“We name it the Mother’s Lap in which all is intact, eternal and flourishing whether growing or perishing,” he said.

Manohar Kirtani, who belongs to Sindh, did his bachelors from NCA Rawalpindi in 2022. His work revolves around the principles of truck art, the designs and its six colours.

“Truck art is something close to me. My family background comes from painters who worked with truck art, so I chose to bring my previous experience, blending with what I have learned now in miniature practice to produce a fusion work. I also included portraits of my teachers who were my inspiration in my years in the NCA, who embraced me and helped me adjust to my new surroundings,” Mr Kirtani said.

The show will run till June 8.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2022

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