A world of weeds
KARACHI: To artist Zehra Laila Javeri, weeds mean movement. It’s not a strange concept, for all kinds of growth are essentially an act of movement in different directions. The issue that artists find intriguing to come to terms with is the direction that the movement takes.
The latest body of work by Ms Javeri, put on display at the Canvas Art Gallery on Tuesday, is interestingly titled ‘Weeds’. It gives an indication as if it’s a show that could be interpreted in a linear way. Well, this couldn’t be farther from being true, because the exhibition is a fascinating journey that the artist has embarked upon; a creative journey, an attempt to track down personal and historic events.
The interesting part in being ‘unwanted’ (as in plants) is that the idea of utility loses its significance. Not to Ms Javeri though. The medium that the artist has used for most exhibits is oil on canvas, but the themes are multiple. They don’t seem multiple because of the presence of the weeds, so to speak, in every image. A closer inspection would reveal that Ms Javeri is trying to touch upon many things at a time – history, urbanism, basic instincts and personal growth, to name a few.
The show starts off with ‘Social Butterfly’. The first thing that the viewer notices is the eyes of the protagonist which is a throwback to a famous Othello line, ‘Beware of the green-eyed monster’.
‘Web’ is an exhibit that speaks of the labyrinthine situations that life can sometimes trap an individual in. At the same time, the name of the artwork has a contemporary tone to it pointing to the material growth of the world, which may or may not have positive connotations.
‘Eve’, on the surface, talks about the age-old story with a difference. The first notion that the viewer gets, as soon as the exhibit is viewed, is of a Janus-faced creature. It might be just an illusion.
This writer’s favourite artwork in the show is called ‘Ocean Bound’. It’s a delightful work of art that touches the viewer on more than one level. Despite the profusion of the no less absorbing blueness and greenness surrounding the protagonist without clothes, it’s the girl that takes centre stage in every way. The fact that her face is not clearly seeable does not matter: it’s the body that emotes and engages everything and everybody around her.
The exhibition will continue till Jan 30.