Works highlight women`s role in society
By Syeda Shehrbano Kazim
ISLAMABAD: The Satrang Gallery hosted the opening of The Spark, a group show by Aimen Manzoor, Amna Rahman, Khadijah Rehman and Zara Asgher.
Asma Rashid, director of the gallery, said: `Satrang Gallery is proud to continue its decades-long tradition of providing a platform to talented artists. In our current exhibition, the artists have explored connections with their surroundings, other beings and with themselves, highlighting the role women play in private and public spaces.
The works explore the body and its invisible energetic force uniting it with its surroundings. Each of the artists has interpreted this connection the positive, the negative, the visceraland the conscious in a manner that suitstheir larger investigations into daily life and social interactions in private and public spaces.
Aimen Manzoor is a figurative painter who plays with scale in her paintings. `My work is mostly figurative by nature. I take inspiration from mundane, everyday experiences. My work revolves around translating compositions I find interesting from my observation of the everyday into paintings,` she said.
Khadijah Rehman, a graduate from the National College of Arts (NCA) creates a patchwork of imagery with motifs of windows, screens and archways, inspired from Mughal and Persian miniatures. Her works borrow from ancient and modern family photographs to create compositions that are reminiscent of dreamscapes with contrasts between segments of intricate details, exotic motifs and flat colour.
Amna Rahman and Zara Asgherboth highlight the carefulnavigation of the body, primarily that of a woman`s, within a patriarchal male-centric society.
Amna Rahman`s focus is on social constructs and challenges to gender stereotypes drawn from personal memories.
As she explores female sexuality, desire, patterns and behaviours, her figures, painted within spaces she deems as `safe` are completely at ease, engaged in conversations, comfortable with themselves and their surroundings.
She saysthatthe paintingsare a narration of my lived experiences of multiple realities, depicting the traits of female beings, their complexities and how they perish in the searing heat of a myriad of emotions.
Zara Asgher`s work is influenced by the themes of gender and sexuality, the physical space they exist in and the public spaces withthe norms and power structures governinginteractions therein.
In her statement she explains that in Pakistan, women do not occupy the streets the same way men do. `To establish a relationship with one`s city, it is important to experience it on foot. By walking, we establish a sense of belonging, a closer bond with our environment. When movement is restricted, a large part of selfidentity is stripped away.
Dependence on others rather than one`s own self is promoted as to keep the hierarchies of places intact,` she said.
Areej Nasir, a visitor to the gal1ery, said, `I really like this exhibition. It is very different from the usual exhibitions. All four of the artists have very different styles and use different media but their works are connecting and of course, the theme of the exhibition is also about human connections.