KARACHI: Farrukh Shahab is a perturbed soul. He is an artist to his fingertips, yes, but what drives his art is agitation. This agitation is caused by both external and internal kinds of commotion. The former is to do with society and the latter with self. As a result, what you see are some fine, fine artworks on view at the Art Scene Gallery where the artist has shown that external and internal conflicts can be reconciled by virtue of sheer imaginativeness.
The artist claims that he has developed his own language in the shape of figures from Ajanta and Allora art and the life that the malangs lead. It’s true to a great extent. However, what’s striking about his oil-and-acrylic-on-canvas and oil-and-acrylic-on-wood work is the presence of the artist himself in each of the exhibits. It is not to suggest that there’s an autobiographical touch to his effort, not at all. Actually, it’s the artist’s perturbed state of mind, his sensitive approach to societal shortcomings and his fondness for the spiritual aspect of existence that come through in the paintings. Pretty convincingly at that.
Shahab discusses quite a few subjects in one special piece on display. It’s a big circle in which the protagonist is placed with stretched out hands. While the figure is in the thick of things, if not in the centre, it is the circle around which the whole idea revolves that matters most. The reason is: there are no ends or starts. The struggle has to go on. And the theme of struggle is at the heart of the 40 odd artworks in the exhibition, especially in the ones which are made on wood. The show, titled Ecstatic Rapture, will continue till Feb 3.