Duality of clock ‘wise’ or otherwise
By Ahtesham Ahzar
KARACHI: Koel Gallery has inaugurated an exhibition titled ‘Clockwise-Otherwise’ by Shahid Rassam, on Tuesday.
The 23 pieces of art on display delighted art enthusiasts, especially the ones who appreciate surrealism.
Most of the paintings focus on masks and clocks, symbols that were used consistently in Salvador Dali’s paintings. However, the artist while talking to Daily Times said, “Time is basically a major problem for human beings. Philosophy of life also does not explain this problem.”
One of his paintings portrays how a human being is attached with time, from having a routine to work, eat, and sleep to listening to music. He has a recurring dark figure in his paintings, many a times holding a mask to her face, with some scattered in the surroundings. The figure keeps changing her position and face, however, what stays persistent is the distorted face, whether by using a mask, or by changing the head to one of an animal. The artist said that he draws masks in his paintings, symbolising the changing faces of people. His mediums are oil on canvas and charcoal on newsprint.
Visually the artist has rendered odes to Dali’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’ without the softness.
Rassam further asserted that hunting element could also be observed in his painting. The face of a predator, faces of laughter, pain and agony are all present in our surroundings.
In one of the paintings, a human figure is embracing a child, however, both the adult and baby do not have a face. The adult has a cat-like human face, while the baby only has a pocket watch as a head. Held by the hands attached to the humanoid-head.
The painting was expressing that sometimes humans, with the passage of time become more like animals or their attitudes turn aggressive and more instinctual. The artist uses dark colours in his painting, which highlight the theme of the image.
Another painting is of a man, who has clock in one hand, and several masks in the other. This man too has no face, only a visible mask, with a slightly cult-like touch. The painting was mentioning that in our society many people, including clerics have different faces, and what face is visible is dependent on time and duration, as well as need.
While talking to Daily Times, Rassam said, “I was born in quiet, dusty Hyderabad to a humble family. My first artistic mentor was my creative mother, who taught me about paint and life. I never imagined that the small seed she had planted in my fertile imagination would blossom into an exotic garden. When I was three, my family moved to the city of lights, Karachi. Here in this lively, bustling city I grew up in a literature loving atmosphere that further nourished the my soul with poetry and colour.”
His unique palette of hues infused with verses was developed through inspiration from great mentors whose paths have crossed his. He was in school when he met Sadequain, the world-renowned Pakistani calligrapher and painter. His mentors include great writers such as humorist Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi, satirist Anwar Maqsood and Urdu poet Jaun Elia. It was Jaun Elia who gave Shahid the title of ‘Rassam’ an Arabic word that means ‘the artist’. Rassam’s life has been a roller coaster ride that has taken him to more than 35 countries around the world.
The exhibition will continue until May 5.
Source: Daily Times