Taqseem opens at Koel
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By Peerzada Salman | 2/8/2017 12:00:00 AM
KARACHI: This year Pakistan celebrates its 70th birthday. It is an important landmark in the country`s short history, which is why a lot of events are being organised to contextualise the growth and development of the nation in these seven decades. An exhibition titled Taqseem that opened at the Koel Art Gallery on Tuesday has the same theme. It is also the gallery`s 8th annual special show.

Eleven artists (four of them in two pairs) have put their works on display and all of them seem to be looking back, as it were, at things that are not going to return. Taqseem in Urdu means partition and, ofcourse,here partition of the subcontinent, as a result of which Pakistan came into existence, is the subject ofthe exhibition.

Imran Channa immediately informs the viewer what the idea for the show isall about. He re-examines the things that have been seen, thus far, as having a single dimension. His `Find the Real Jinnah (digital print on panaflex) asks artlovers to study the different attires of the father of the nation and choose which one of his `looks` they think fits into their mental image of the Quaid.

It is a simple work of art on the surface, but has complexities that are not easy to unravel. One way of interpreting it is to look at the different hats/ caps Mr Jinnah is wearing in the digital print. There are a couple of images in which there`s no cap. Channa is using the language of symbols.

Zarina Hashmi`s work can be defined in terms of nostalgia (the unappeased yearning to return). Her `Father`s House` (etching on arches cover buff paper) is a striking piece.

For her the past assumes significance of the (imperceptible) present.

The photographic mural by Althea Thauberger named `Who Is It That CanTell Me Who I Am?` has a theatrical appeal to it. There`s a great deal happening in one frame, and the artist, smartly enough, blurs the line between quantity (in terms of the people in the picture) and quality (in terms of what they`re doing) in a seamless manner.

Jamil Dehlavi, who is better known for his film-making talent, goes down memory lane telling his audience about his family in an installed piece called `Dislocation` (archive, mixed media). He reminisces about fondly may I add his Indian father and French mother, and the objects that he`s put on view will allow the viewer to discover a new side to Dehlavi`s creative self.

The rest of the participating artists are David Alesworth, Amin Gulgee, Omar Wasim and Saira Sheikh, Seher Naveed and Zahra Malkani and Shahana Rajani.

The exhibition will continue until Feb 24.