Recently a very interesting and visually pleasing programme consisting of an art exhibition and a book launch followed by an installation in the form of a musical performance, took place at the Karachi Arts Council. The programme titled, ‘Silent decibels: harmony in motion’ showed the paintings of Amna Pataudi and Sana Kazi Khan whose artworks were selected for inclusion in the online collection of the Museum of Music, USA.

The exhibition focused on the history of musical instruments and was a visual delight as the artists incorporated colouration, linear designs and movement that evoked an emotional response from the viewers. The chief guest on the occasion was Fatima Suraiya Bajiya, the well-known champion of art and culture in Karachi, who was delighted with the skillful interpretations of the artists. Distinguished musicians such as the Pride of Performance flautist Salamat Hussain, attended the occasion.

In Pataudi’s work, one discovered a diverse array of stringed, wind and percussion instruments. They referred to sounds that evolved over centuries into language, placed in a setting of textured abstract patterns and often carrying the suggestion of musical notes.

Declaring that, “Music transcends all borders”, Khan’s work incorporated Jazz icons and musicians from around the world. Together the artists contributed 47 artworks to the exhibition that was continued by a programme of classical dance and music choreographed by Roshan Ara Bukhari. Each item on the programme began with one of the paintings being enlarged up to a size of eight by 16 feet and projected on a screen, and it was amazing to see how well the artworks carried the enlarged format. These episodes were followed by an interpretation of the paintings by classical dance and musical performances. Among items included, the audience enjoyed the ‘Peacock dance’, and a romance based on the legend of Anarkali, followed by a change of mood with the Salsa. It was a unique opportunity for music lovers to share an international platform of the Music Museum, and to rejoice in the preservation and recording of art and music. Collaborating on this programme was the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, the Ministry of Culture, and online Music Museum. The show was first launched in Islamabad, then at Alhamra Cultural Centre in Lahore, where large audiences attended. In Karachi, the select audience was extremely responsive, but afterwards one heard from many people who would have liked to attend the programme had they been invited.

Now the show will travel to the US, and will be shown in Dubai and in India.

The merging of audio and visual art in paintings is a novel device confirming the strong link between music and painting that reflects the feelings of shared identity world wise.

Pataudi, currently administrator of the Shakir Ali Museum, Lahore, began her art training at the fine arts department of the Peshawar University, graduating as gold medalist in 1986 and continuing her art practice at the Heatherly School of Art, London. Khan trained as a miniaturist at NCA, Lahore, and following her graduation in 2006, exhibited her work in Islamabad, Lahore and at the New End Gallery, London. This event was Khan’s debut in Karachi, and judging by the enthusiasm of the visitors to the exhibition and performance, we will have the pleasure of viewing the works of these artists in the near future.

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