KARACHI: In one of the scenes of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when Polonius asks Hamlet, “What do you read my lord?” the prince of Denmark, who is trying to feign madness, replies, “Words, words, words.” By responding in such a manner he intends to kill two birds with a single stone: one, to underplay the value of words since Polonius is a wise man who utters pearls of wisdom to his children such as “give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any unproportioned thoughts his act;” two, he wants the world to know that he is not attentive to the tragedy that he’s trying to come to terms with — his father’s murder. Needless to say, the reality is otherwise.
An exhibition of distinguished artist Muzzumil Ruheel’s artworks titled Choose your words carefully’ that opened at the Canvas Art Gallery recently also serves multiple purposes by virtue of some thought-provoking ‘paint-on-metal’ pieces.
As per the artist’s statement provided by the gallery, the display ‘reflects his current state of mind’. To elucidate this, since the current state could have been triggered by anything, the write-up adds, “The artist believes that globally a new language has been organically developing in our subconscious. This new language of the millennium needs a universal script so that it may become part of life, may be used globally, may be taught formally and may even become the future official language of the world…”
It all sounds like an idealistic scenario, but Ruheel’s art is so powerful and convincing that the moment you start looking at his work, his idealism comes across as realism shrouded in hope. A case in point is the exhibit called ‘Something is Missing’. The geometry involved in the making of the piece hints at the linguistic flair that it embodies in its very kinetic energy, but the ‘missing’ part is something that has to do with the viewer, not the artwork. And this is the point which makes Ruheel’s effort worth watching over and over.
The exhibition concludes on Thursday (today).
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2023
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