Back to nature

Published January 26, 2023
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: American poet Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Sound of Trees’ begins with the line, “I wonder about the trees.” Even if you have not read the whole piece, the importance of trees in his poetry, which reflects life’s profound aspects in simplest of things, can be gauged from the fact that one of his iconic poems ‘Birches’ is also about the same subject signifying how nature can be used as a tool to divert oneself from the bitter truths of life.

A group show curated by Zahra Khan titled Walk among Trees, which concluded at the Koel Art Gallery on Wednesday, works along the same lines.

The curator describes the effort in the following words, “The exhibition seeks to explore the deeper impact of trees, the longest living species on earth, upon humans, and the range of meanings and attributes associated with them. Trees, like humans, create communities and share consciousness. They build local eco-systems, based upon connections with other nearby trees, plants and fungi.

“They communicate with their neighbours and exchange data, nourishment, support, and social networks — preserving knowledge and making families. Their roots hold the soil together, and their leaves, bark and sap have medicinal qualities that are used for healing. The artists in this exhibition have their own individual relationships with trees, and the work that forms this exhibition speaks to those associations,” she said.

Wonderful description of the value of living organisms! But what imparts visual charm to the contextual plane on which the artists have worked is the aesthetic flair with which they have expressed themselves. One has used the word ‘flair’ because the affinity they’ve shown to the trees does not only come from respect and understanding, but also from unstinted passion.

The artists who took part in the show were: Marium M Habib, Bibi Hajra, Anushka Rustomji, Karim Ahmed Khan, Faizan Naveed, Shahana Rajani, Hira Nabi and Mehreen Murtaza.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2023

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