Artist carves out niche by reconnecting with innocence of childhood
KARACHI: Wood has a language of its own. I have a distinctive friendship with this material. We understand one another. With wood, I feel one can start from the very point you had stopped.
Artist Tariq Usman Luni described his unique relationship with wood at his latest exhibition, titled ‘Roots of Innocence’ at VM Art Gallery.
Through his works, Luni revisits the innocence, simplicity and warmth of childhood. In addition, his works also focus on the desire to travel back to the yesteryears, revering the past more than the present. His piece, ‘hugging the bark’, stands out because it captures a person’s last intimate moment with the warmth and security of his home just before he leaves it. The one last hug has been personified as a bird’s nest on a bark that holds it close one last time before flying out in the world.
For Luni, birds symbolise purity of the soul the most among other animals. “There is something about birds, their simplicity and innocence that resonates with me,” he said, explaining the concept behind using birds, nest and trees throughout this works.
Luni, as one so believes, has taken a lot of inspiration from nature. His ‘Pay Me in Hugs’ piece shows a mother, with a face of flower petals, holding her baby. The meaning of the work also stretches to the time before the baby is born and is held close in his mother’s womb.
“It’s just an idea I have shared about mothers loving their own children,” said Luni. “If they start loving children other than their own too, a lot can be improved around us and the world can perhaps be less cruel than it already is,” he pointed out.
Among other themes, Luni has also played with the concepts of freedom, growth, movement and stagnancy, uniqueness of an individual identity among others.
“I don’t start a piece knowing where I will go, it’s an exploration,” reads his statement. “Its development, it’s like searching for words when you start talking.” It is perhaps for this reason that viewers can infer multiple interpretations out of Luni’s craft.
The exhibition will continue till December 21.