People view works presented in the exhibition held at the Arts Council of Pakistan on Sunday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
People view works presented in the exhibition held at the Arts Council of Pakistan on Sunday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The day-long art show A Picture of Hope, organised by Dawn Relief: The Way Forward at the Arts Council of Pakistan here on Sunday, turned out to be a helpful distraction from the depression surrounding the recent floods in the country.

As its name suggested, the exhibition, among other things, was uplifting. It painted a bright picture, full of hope, for beautiful Pakistan possessing so many blessings and talent as portrayed in the art and photography, which captured various hues of the multifaceted aspects of this land. Heavy hearts were forced to look on the brighter side, also if one thought about the noble gestures of the artists and photographers, who donated their beautiful pieces of work so that the money generated from their sales can be used in relief efforts undertaken by Dawn Relief.

In lieu of the Dawn Relief cause, Karachi Arts Council contributed its location for the event.

Aneela Sheikh of The Curated Plate, with whom Dawn Relief collaborated for the art, said that they managed to put it all together in one week.

“By putting in 14-hour work days, taking lots of tea and painkillers to keep us running,” she smiled.

Noted artists, photographers donate beautiful pieces so that money generated from their sales can be used in relief efforts

There was an extensive list of artists whose work was on display on the right side of the hall with the middle area taken over by the pop art and digital prints by some contemporary artists.

The artists included Ashir Bhatti, Beygum Bano, Daft Draft, Faizan Riedinger, Fizza Saleem, IRDK Maham, K. Align, Marium Kamal, Mughal Empress and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who feels strongly about the artists’ community coming together for the noble cause, said: “As soon as Dawn and The Curated Plate reached out to me about something so important and dear to my heart, I knew I had to do all that was in my power.”

clockwise: ‘Departure from the oasis’; ‘Dancing to the been’; and ‘Hubbly bubbly in the fields’. Photos by Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
clockwise: ‘Departure from the oasis’; ‘Dancing to the been’; and ‘Hubbly bubbly in the fields’. Photos by Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

Beygum Bano, another artist well-known for her digital prints, said that she was very excited to be a part of a project such as the Dawn Art Show. “I’ve been meaning to help the flood relief victims and have been doing as much as I can,” she said.

Some of the most expensive artworks at the exhibition was a mix-medium picture by Umair Ghani titled ‘A Window for Worship’ carrying a Rs100,000 price tag of a veiled Thari woman against the backdrop of traditional blue printed Sindhi Hala tiled wall of a shrine. The picture had a frame with calligraphy all around.

Meanwhile, Faizan Riedinger was the artist with the most expensive art there, a round painting that looked like the picture of the Earth at night-time from space priced at Rs300,000.

Right next to it was a live mural being painted right there at the event by the husband and wife team, Safwan and Marium Subzwari, a picture of modern fusion of pop culture and chaos, which was then auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Each photo print by a huge number of photographers, namely, Ali Khurshid, Arif Ali, Arif Mahmood, Ayesha Vellani, Kohi Marri, Mahmood Qureshi, Pervaiz Ahmad Khan, Stephan Andrew and Tapu Javeri, was priced at Rs12,000.

Of them the most uplifting one had to be the one titled ‘Uninhibited Patriotism’, which brought everything into perspective. It was a photo taken by Mahmood Qureshi of a flood relief camp in Punjab where a skinny little boy with no clothes to wear was shown holding up Pakistan’s flag.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2022

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