The bond between artists and sea

Published October 5, 2022
Some of the artworks displayed at the exhibition.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Some of the artworks displayed at the exhibition.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Artists and the sea have a long-standing relationship. The vastness of oceans and their unfathomable depth which carry countless tangible and intangible mysteries have always inspired them. Be they writers, poets or painters, the bond between man and sea has always been a fascination one. Sohail Zuberi’s exhibition of artworks titled Archaeologies of Tomorrow — II, which concludes on Wednesday (today) at the Koel Art Gallery, is a testimony to the observation.

As can be gauged from the name of the show, Zuberi has been focusing on this subject for a considerable period of time, more than a decade actually, hence the indication of part II of this creative campaign.

Archaeologies of Tomorrow concludes today

For clarity, here’s the introduction to the exhibition provided by the gallery: “Sohail Zuberi’s engagement with a small stretch of beach in Karachi continues… This beach, located in the midst of new urban developments, serves as a lens through which the peculiarities of the city are explored. Working with found objects and documentation of chance encounters, the artist has created an archive-based body of work, which comments on the site’s ever-changing physical, cultural and social landscape.”

Found objects and chance encounters, what a poetic way of looking at life! Both hint at serendipity. But Zuberi’s quest goes beyond that. There’s a great deal of consciousness involved in producing something that can connect past, present and future in a way which can give the viewer a sense of belonging with no or negligible feeling of geographical isolation.

And it is in that endeavour that the artist succeeds massively. The moment the viewer looks at the exhibits on view, s/he realises that this is familiar territory even if unvisited.

A couple of cogent examples in support of the claim are ‘Look what the tide brought in’ (found seashells, image printed on Montval, frame made from salvaged door) and the ‘Bench’ series (found wood, lacquer). Thought provoking, aesthetically rich, stuff!

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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