Dynamism of womanhood

Published February 15, 2024
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: These days Russian writer Maxim Gorky’s novel Mother is not as much discussed as, let’s say, it was four or five decades back when social realism was in vogue as far as artistic forms of expression went. It, perhaps, still is. But the book doesn’t feature as a discussion point in literary circles and social gatherings anymore. The protagonist in the novel is a woman, the titular character of the mother, a widow who supports her revolutionary son — a motherly and national duty which entails brushes with authority. Farazeh Syed’s exhibition of paintings titled Madar, Mater, Mataram at the Canvas Art Gallery doesn’t confine the role of women to that category of social realism, rather captures the ‘dynamism’ of being a woman.

The artist knows how to glean macrocosmic results out of microcosmic views of a subject to seek answers to age-old questions.

So she, with a striking combination of memory, greenery, loud colours and distinct postures, creates a world that lends meaning and profundity to the discourse around female form.

Some of the artworks displayed at the exhibition.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Some of the artworks displayed at the exhibition.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

Farazeh says, “My practice centres on the female body and observations of gender and their socio-cultural and political manifestations. As a child, I grew up in a home surrounded by orchards, lush flora and fauna serving as the sanctuary I now surround my women in. I celebrate the dynamism, strength and resilience of womanhood and the abundance and generative power of the female body.”

Celebrate she does! And through her art she also spins a yarn, tells a story, of how faces and postures in the foreground meld with backgrounds — that they’re inextricably associated with — to lend incredible energy to it. Artworks such as ‘Can you hear my roar?’ (graphite on wasli) and ‘The most dangerous animal is a woman smiling’ (fabric collage, acrylics and charcoal on canvas) are powerful examples.

Thought provoking stuff!

The exhibition concludes on Thursday (today).

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2024

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