Painting out historical distortions
Karachi: Photography can be viewed as presenting what appears to be truth. This moment, frozen in time and recorded on film and paper, presents many challenges. By its very nature, this framed image is problematic. It can be bearer of great untruths by elimination what is outside the frame. Can viewers ever be certain they have the full picture of what they are looking at?
Imran Channa, an artist, expressed these views on his solo paintings titled ’Enclosure/Erasure’ being displayed at Koel Gallery.
“My primary focus is how historical events are documented and disseminated. I am interested in how historical facts become distorted, how this distortion can dominate narratives, how fabricated narratives can override collective memory, and how collective memory shapes social consciousness,” he said.
Iftikhar Dady, an artist and critic, said Imran Channa translated archival photography into abstraction and this was accomplished through a rigorous practice of drawing and erasure in all works in the three series shown in the Enclosure/Erasure exhibition.
“Central concerns of Channa’s extended investigation revolve around the question of historical truth associated with the photograph, and how our understanding of history remains malleable to ideology despite the ostensibly stubborn veracity of photographic evidence,” he said.
“If even the most reliable visual artifact in the archive cannot guarantee truth, how can we situate ourselves as subjects of history? These questions are absolutely central to subjectivities in South Asia today, as we individually and collectively seek a responsible relation to our history, beyond the siren song of exclusivist postcolonial nationalisms,” the critic commented.
This series of work questions the role played by photography in creating a particular picture of the history.
This piece of work portrays the errors that happened in depicting the past.
The technique used by the artist forces the image to undergo a series of transformations. Highlighting the vulnerability in one’s own perspective, this new body of work questions if we ever truly know what we think we know or have been led to believe. The exhibition will continue till April 11.