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Mute Faces opens at Alliance Francaise

June 05, 2012

An image of Ali Quli's resting places.–Photo by Dawn

Karachi: If you are an artist, Pakistani artist at that, it is almost impossible not to get influenced by Sindh’s rich cultural history. The 5,000-year-old civilisation attracts artists’ attention like moth to flames.

One of the many noteworthy features of Sindh’s historicity is its architectural heritage. Be it the Makli tombs or the awe-inspiring forts in different parts of the province or for that matter the mysterious Banbhore ruins, photographers and painters have tried to capture them in their own distinct styles. It is in this spirit that an exhibition of photographs by Rahmatullah Khan titled Mute Faces opened at the Alliance Francaise Karachi on Monday.

The photographer claims that the display is Pakistan’s first large-format exhibition. Placed on Alliance Francaise’s verdant lawns, the large-size pictures primarily capture two significant historic archaeological sites of Sindh: Malki and Shahjahani Mosque in Thatta.

A view of Shahjahani Mosque in Thatta

One of the first exhibits is a striking front portion of Ali Quli’s resting place in Makli. Ali Quli was an important figure during Emperor Jehangir’s rule in India. The picture clearly shows the kind of artisanship that went into making his maqbara.

The piece next to it is a closeup shot of another tomb. The mellow lighting and the angle from which the picture has been taken draw attention to the delicate carvings on the structure.

The images of Shahjahani Mosque, Thatta, are no less impressive. One particular grab shows the many domes which are an integral part of the mosque’s constructional design. The photographer says there are 97 domes and he has managed to capture them all. Shots of the interior of Shahjahani Mosque take the viewer to a different domain. The top-angle views highlight the depth of the building as well as the finesse with which the masons built it.

The exhibition, which is organised by the Sindh culture department and Alliance Francaise Karachi, will continue till June 9.