A group exhibition of many artists recently unfolded at Koel Gallery in Karachi. Featuring the works of Abeer Arshad, Ana Ali Kazmi, Ansha Memon, Aqsa Khan Nasar, Asim Muhammad Amen, Ayesha M. Ali, Babar Feroz, Hassaan Aslam, Haya Esbhani, Jaweria Shoaib, Kiran Saleem, Mahnoor Qazi, Muzna Gufran Roghay, Osama Rehman Khan, Sadia Safder, Sahl Shoaib Motiwala, Saleha Moeen Qureshi, Samra Kamran Mehkri, Schanza Khan, Shahzadi Kainat Ayub, Sundus Ihsan, Tooba Shahbaz Shaikh, Yusra Taqi Allawala and Zoya Arshad Faruqui, the show attracted a huge crowd of art lovers.
Abeer’s work is based on the rise of environmental pollution causing a lot of distress not only to humans but also to the nature around us. Her work employs metal bottle caps to create “Shrubs”. With an objective to tackle the issue of pollution, she produces amazing display of works.
For Ana Ali Kazmi, roaming around the market is all about anxiety and chaos. This becomes more prominent when associated with human interaction. Hence by excluding people from her narrative, she has been able to find beauty and tranquility that she has illustrated in her work.
‘Jugaar’ literally means an improvised arrangement or an alternative way which is cost and time effective. Ansha Memon’s work reflects upon the idea of Jugaar literally and figuratively. As each component has its own characteristic and history, it comes together to construct a functional or semi-functional structure.
Aqsa Khan Nasar explores the significance of landscapes through her work. These barren landscapes naturally constructed with multiple layers of minerals, are often seen and ignored. Using the richness of the texture and colour of the material that is a dominant feature of clothing of women of Balochistan, she has created these barren landscapes into visually appealing drawings to highlight the richness and potential of the province.
Asim Muhammad Ameen’s work is an inquiry into his past as he revisits the ideas or beliefs that are taught while being raised in a conservative Muslim community. Making an artwork, for Asim, is a tool to express the un-expressable. Ayesha M. Ali’s practice interrogates the relation between blurred boundaries of reality and illusions, collective memory and desires, genders and set roles created in the Pop culture we consume every day. Through her work, she dissects this web of complex patterns in relation to the ideas of simulation.
The theme of Babar Feroz’s work is about the endangered wildlife of Pakistan as he feels the issue of great importance. The constant badgering related to stopping the illegal hunting, the oil spilling and so much more in the news and on social media has confirmed the rise of pollution on Earth.
The idea of Hassaan Aslam’s work stemmed from his travels to Melbourne, where the trees were his source of comfort and artistic interest. Upon returning to Pakistan, he continued with his bachelors and noticed the existence of these objects and how he has been overlooking them in his own country. The perspective he had developed of viewing things differently traveled back with him.
Reminiscing the dispersal of her joint family system, Haya Esbhani ‘s work revolves around recreating the architectural space with collective and personal memories of the house that was once shared. Taking inspiration from clay tablets, her work displays a notion of a missed space that now only exists as a distorted memory.
Jaweria Shoaib remembers the childhood memories fondly through her work. She recalls the presence of laughter, whooshing swings, screams of excitement echoing in parks. She portrays silence and unvoiced fear with multiple questions that relate to the abundance of atrocities. She shows absence of physical bodies of children and the forlornness of the parks.
Kiran Saleem’s work roots itself from a personal experience of being watched without her consent. Using metal washers as her material, she has constructed curtains that represent the barriers she has placed between herself and the outside world. These pieces are shown as attractive yet threatening. Converting cloth into a hard, gritty form, possessing the qualities of an armor or a shield, these pieces are strong yet fragile at the same time as there is still a possibility of being watched through them. Her work is primarily about the vulnerability of the female body in spaces.
Mahnoor Qazi’s work is an evolution of her thesis, marrying two of her passions; fine art and animation. An avid gamer since childhood, much of her work has been influenced by video games. Her work embodies the excitement incited by video games coupled with the nostalgic aesthetics. This work is the groundwork of her future projects, which will incorporate not only art and design, but coding as well, in an attempt to create unique, functional pieces of artwork that provoke interaction. The drawings of Muzna Ghufran Roghay are a reflection of her experiences as she passes through a city. She shows how a brief fleeting understanding of one place is often mired by movement and shade resulting in just an impression of the moment.
Osama Rehman Khan explores the idea of emotional attachment to a house. His perception of homes as abstract ideas is evident through his work. The artist explores the perception of permanence with respect to home, in which he critically analyzes his life while connecting the dots of past and present.
Sadia Safder’s work is based on experimentation, fragmentation, layering, construction and deconstruction of a material. Her visuals are an influence of her surroundings, landscapes and nature and moving from one place to another. She enjoys the challenging process of layering and constructing an image using mesh wire. Her inspiration mainly comes from an artist Seung Mo Park, a Korean sculptor who makes portraits out of steel mesh wire through pair of clippers. In her work, she divides the space into fragments.
Sahl Shoaib Motiwala’s body of work consists of charcoal drawings discussing her tendency to create imaginative patterns in objects where none seem to be existing, a tendency known as Pareidolia. Putting emphasis on the folds and textures of clothes, the artist creates human faces and figures to investigate how minds work distinctively. She is currently exploring this concept through drawings in charcoal, pen and paint.
Saleha Moeen Qureshi’s work comments on the changes of the sea whether be it political or personal. Her work revolves around how we as humans tend to forget the most important things to us as our lives move on and how we use our resources and choose to ignore their significance. It is a collection of memories built in a place and then deleting those memories.
Samra Kamran Mehkri is intrigued by how lives are surrounded by cameras. She explores various perceptions and limitations from the frame of a lens. The distorted views, interactions, boundaries and dimensions diffuse in her work.
Schanza Khan’s work stems from her previous work about transmutation of surveillance imagery. The images often come about through different channels of both material and perception that intermingle and create a unique image. Shahzadi Kainat Ayub’s work reflects the invisible euphoric feelings of moving through a space and keeping them in your memory. In her work she shows portrait of some of her class friends alongside with her as a cherished memory of the time spent while learning art.
Sundus Ihsan Khan’s work deals with emotions and feelings related to nostalgia, holding on and letting go. She explores the concept of tangible and intangible memories and places we leave behind.
The work of Tooba Shahbaz Shaikh illustrates short observational moments of people, spaces and scenes, found during day-to-day transitions. It is a reflection of a desire to slow down, pause and observe the mundane. It draws from the concept of Slow Cinema, a minimalist genre, often observational, comprised of long takes with little or no narrative. Her paintings dissect short films or videos dividing them frame by frame.
Yusra Taqi Allawala works with the idea of escapism where she finds solace in reading romantic novels and painting various scenes which she finds fascinating and dream-like.
Zoya Arshad Faruqui’s work explores the research paper “Why Loiter” (it questions and offers an explanation for the absence [of comfort] for females in public forums) and book “The Beauty of Everyday Things”. Her narrative visuals are scenarios imagined and inspired by reality.