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Polythene bag as a symbol of suffocation

Polythene bag artwork. — Photo by DAWN

LAHORE: An exhibition of artworks made with polythene bags by a National College of Arts graduate was a source of delight and surprise for visitors to the Drawing Room Art Gallery on Tuesday.

Titled ‘Throng’, the exhibition is an effort to explore a new dimension of medium by young Karen Frank. The art show manifests conscious employment of techniques.

The 11 works on display are reflective of socio-political situation in the country, with an emphasis on general behaviours, traditions and the way of life.

“Using polythene bags as a medium I have tried to portray not only the suffocation prevailing in society but my artworks have also passing references to the amusing characters found in our society both in women and men,” Ms Frank told Dawn.

Ms Frank said she was going through a financial crisis during her final thesis at the NCA. “I got bankrupt and then I thought of starting working on my thesis with used items and materials. My thesis was also based on artworks through polythene bags,” said the artist.

She said she carried the idea of using polythene bags further keeping in view the successful experiment.

The themes of her artworks, mostly figurative and women-based, have very interesting topics such as ‘Rukhsati’, ‘Dholki’, ‘Gola Ganda’, ‘Women with Children’, ‘In the Bus’, and ‘Bazaar’.

The artworks are mostly about women, depicting different characters -- amusing, astonishing and impressive. The particular thing about her artworks is the big wide eyes of the characters she has portrayed. Large, bulging eyes are quite expressive.

A number of art lovers, students from different institutions, commercial art gallery owners and other visitors attended the exhibition.

Commenting on Ms Frank’s works, National College of Arts Director Post-graduate Studies Murtaza Jaffri said: “Her works have a great monumental value; she has used a new medium. Also, the colour scheme of polythene bags is interesting.” Drawing Room Art Gallery owner Muhammad Ashraf commented, “the interesting use of polythene bags’ colours is one of the attractive aspects of her artworks. She through her works has tried to capture social panorama of society.”

The exhibition will remain on display till Sept 18.