Internationally acclaimed artist Risham Syed’s solo show ’Cheetah and Other Stories” opened recently at Canvas Gallery.
Risham collect images from around herself that narrates stories from everyday life including symbols that are mainly symbolic of the present times. She turns these symbols into paintings, which is a deliberate act of participation. She juxtaposes with objects that are reminiscent of a certain time in history. Over to Jaliyanwala a painting of a poster in gilded frame refers to WWI, printed image of on quilt is of the An-daman island jail or the Cellular Jail and the title has the reference of the Jaliyanwala Bagh. Marble Hearth represents comforts of the traditional family unit and home. Through this, the viewer is invited to look at the painting of a Space Shuttle Discovery taking off, which simultaneously represents the so-called advancement and destruction in modern times. She sees humour and irony in this. Risham Syed is a Lahore-based artist who uses painting, as well as other mediums to explore questions of history, sociology, and politics. Living in a big metropolis like Lahore, one continuously experiences a momentous ‘urban transition’, which has become so very tangible over these past few years. Her native city plays the main role in her work, as do related inquiries into what the colonial history of the region has meant to today’s culture. She explores these questions using her paintings as pieces of a greater, often global context through installation and use of objects with social reference and connotation.
Syed is currently heading the Visual Arts Department, teaching as Associate Professor at the School of Visual Art and Design, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.