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: In Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, there are numerous references to a variety of flowers and plants. In King Lear, for examples, when the king’s youngest daughter Cordelia recognises her father after he has lost his marbles, she says:

He was met even now
As mad as the vex’d sea; singing aloud;
Crown’d with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
With bur-docks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn.

Creative souls know well man’s inalienable affinity with nature. Both sanity and insanity have, in one way or another, to do with man’s rupture (or smoothness) of his relationship with nature.

A two-person show titled Inflorescence, which recently concluded at the Art Chowk Gallery, has such a subject at its core. The participating artists — Omer Asim and Fahad Saleem — have done a fine job in highlighting the interconnectedness of living beings in a world that’s increasingly becoming hard to live in.

Interconnectedness. Let’s see how. The gallery introduces the show in the following words: “Saleem and Asim’s praxis converges in an exhibition that contrasts mark-making of lines with almost mechanical precision with delicately detailed organic textures.”

Now two phrases need to be studied here: mechanical precision and organic textures. Mechanical and organic, in a way, sound oxymoronic. If you look at the exhibits [such as Saleem’s untitled works of Asim’s ‘Tides of Hope’] closely, you will realise what kind of distinction that they are trying to achieve: when you move away from the natural progression of things, the need for reverting to nature’s munificence could not be overemphasised.

But it would be unjust not to point out the tremendous craft of the two creative souls. Their skill as artists is top-notch. The dexterity with which they draw ‘lines’ and ‘forms’ attract your attention in such a way that the medium becomes the message. And it doesn’t take you long to realise that the message has been effortlessly put across.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2024

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