GOING BACK IN TIME
Just weeks before its 10th anniversary, Koel Gallery in Karachi held one of its biggest exhibitions to date titled `Mera Safar`. The show comprised works by 15 artists who hail fmm Sindh and are established artists in contemporary Pakistani art. Curated by Noorjehan Bilgrami and Muhammad Zeeshan, the exhibition encompassed the artists` personal journeys and how their individual struggles since childhood have contributed to their art practices.[TOP]
Mussarat Mirza created life-sized paintings that addressed the bond between man and God. Acconting to Mirza, it is the bond which cannot be shown in visuals.
Hence, his visuals renect upon the journey of finding oneself spiritually. His painting `Journey Towards` consists of a doorway with sharp daylight shining through it. Mirza considers this visual as the beginning of a journey. While the second painting `Rah-i-Haq` is an image of a shrine which is considered the place of arrival after undertaking a journey What is interesting about Mirza`s visuals is that he mixes his pigments into a murky colour palette and then allows sand to settle itself into those pigments.
Irfan Gul Dahri showcases five paintings which discuss a certain episode of the artist`s life. Shedding light on his inner demons, the artist feels they have greatly contributed to his personality building. While observing his current body of work, one needs to notice that, despite having a different language for every visual, hints of tension canbe felt in them.
For example, in the piece `Drawing`, the strokes and lines in the image ny around aimlessly, creating a whidpool.
Rehana Mangi`s artworks comprises miniature and noral images on which she has used the technique of cross-stitch.
According to Mangi, this particular technique is a source of joy that allows her to connect with her childhood. The visuals not only address her childhood but the subdued colour palette and the application of textures take the viewer back in time.
Maryam Saleem`s installations address the divisions in our society and, at the same time, are open for dialogue.
Her eye-catching videos carry a sense of longing and time, especially the video in which she has recorded binis nying across a deserted land, possibly renecting upon moments which keep nying away like these binis and which cannot be brought back.
Abdul Jabbar Gul`s mixed media installations renect upon his childhood, when he used to draw with charcoal on his house walls. Having come along way,his current body ofwoikcontains various paintings, drawings and sculptures depicting diffeænt men; possibly an interpætation of the men who made a diffeænce in Gul`s life.
Munawar Ali Syed`s work ævolves amund the year 1981 when he lost his father and bmthers and the difficulty of coping with their deaths. Now having lost his mother as well, his curænt body of work æminisces about the time spent with his family. Aninteæsting laige-scale artwork by Syed is made on a wallin whichhe dæw out a composition of objects such as a chair, a cycle and a cassette, etc.
By putting their individual experiences on display, it was as if the artists had gone back into their pasts and bmught back remains fmm that time, recreating those particular moments.
`Mera Safar` was displayed at Koel Gallery in Karachi from February 19 to March 7 2019