A solo exhibition of Anum Ashraf recently unfolded at Art Kaam Gallery in Karachi. Featuring water colour masterpieces, the artist Ashraf portrays the varying shades and formats of trees.
She symbolizes the language of trees with the beauty of the land with their expression of life, death and the great beyond. Playing with the textures and hues, she presents foliage, barks and branches of a tree in a submerged ambiance of dream that correlates with shadow. The naturally focused elements of a tree provide a perception of the visible world.
The orientation of leaves, branches and small twigs painted with respect to sunlight varies from tree to tree. She creates an ambiance where one can relax and connect with the inner self. By presenting a clear blue sky, the artist hints at the very absence of it near the urban dwellings that makes the real beauty hide behind the chaos of the cities. The thick green trees portrayed are inviting and welcoming at the same time.
Anum Ashraf graduated from the Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture in 2015. She did her thesis purely in watercolors and on large-scale. Here she talks about her inspirations and aspirations with Nigaah.
Nigaah: What inspired you to venture into painting?
Anum Ashraf: Painting has always been a passion; I feel I can express myself better through paints, hues and strokes Painting is peace for me, it is totally my time and I do it the way I want to or how I feel like. It helps me to express my mind on paper the way I want to. I love oil painting and water colors; these two mediums I feel do justice to me and to my work.
Nigaah: Which artist’s work inspires you the most?
Anum Ashraf: I won’t say my work has been inspired from anyone else’s work but yes the medium of water colors and techniques are definitely inspired but a lot of Pakistani and international painters, for example Ather Jamal, Ali Abbas Syed, Edgar A.whitney, Joe Dowden and Praveen Karmakar.
Nigaah: What are you painting these days and why?
Anum Ashraf: My current body of work is derived from themes related to nature. I try to create glimpses of places I consider to be most beautiful. Majority of my work shows trees, clouds and leaves, but that is just the depiction of much more that lies beneath. It is the subtle effect of emotions that come out brilliantly in water colours. The scale of my work is large because I try to create that impact of reality, of actually being out there in near the trees. I mainly depict moods through colors, giving out these vague messages and not being too clear about them at the same time.