KARACHI: Over the last few decades, interest in Karachi’s past has increased manifold. By that, usually one means the past which begins from the arrival of the British in the region because it is from that point onwards that there’s a considerable amount of documented and tangible material available on the city’s history, the most prominent of which is Karachi’s architectural build-up which turned this tiny coastal fishing village into a beautiful bustling town.

The heartening thing about the subject is that it is not just the senior lot that finds the metropolis’s days of yore intriguing, but also the younger generation.

Titled Tehqeeq, an exhibition of artworks, chiefly photographs, by the students of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, which is under way at the Full Circle Gallery, is the latest testimony to the observation.

A bit about the genesis of the whole exercise as printed on the invite to the show: “Tehqeeq [search] started as a creative idea led by the desire and passion to probe the unknown of Karachi. Eefa Khalid [curator and course instructor] managed to turn it into a fully fledged exhibition showcasing the creative interpretations of what the students discovered in their quest.”

One feels that ‘quest’ is a better word to convey the drive behind the effort. Search or research, though nothing wrong with it, reeks of an academic approach to the topic.

The works on display hint at the tremendous creative and artistic potential of the students. The reason is that most of the images of the city’s buildings, spaces and objects brim with aesthetic flair. This implies that the visual value has youthful exuberance to it, which is wonderful to witness. And when that combines with the shadows of Karachi’s past and the concreteness of its present, it’s doubly delightful.

The artists taking part in the exhibition, which will conclude on Monday, are: Ayesha Jahangeer, Adeena Mushtaq, Aleezah Muzaffar, Eesha Naweed, Fatima Siddiqui, Hamza Hashmi, Haniya Zubair, M Zain Abbas, M Zohaib Fasih, Misrah Nizami, Sana Mohsin, Syeda Abqurah Shaukat, Zain Ali Qazi, Zainab Hanif, Zoha Shahzad, Zareen Hyder and Zakaria Nadeem.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2022

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