Icons, Pakistan Zindabad opens at Canvas
By: Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: Since artists themselves are a talented lot, they draw a great deal of inspiration from other creative individuals. They find them intriguing because it’s the inscrutability and mystery of creative pursuits that keep them alive to art. Therefore the creative process itself becomes a work of art. It is in this context that an exhibition of two Lahore-based artists Ahmed Ali Manganhar and Hasnat Mehmood’s works titled ‘Icons/Pakistan Zindabad’, which opened at the Canvas Art Gallery on Tuesday, assumes significance.
As can be gauged by the name of the show, both artists have paid tribute to the ‘local’ icons and ‘indigenous’ goings-on in Pakistan. Some of the pieces, however, can also be taken as backhanded compliments. For example, the ‘Facebook Ad’ series (reflective tapes on plexi glass) by Mr Mehmood points out the obsessions that many in our society have with quality nuptial relationships.
But he impresses more with his tribute to the likes of the legendary Madam Noor Jehan, actress Babra Sharif and pop singers Nazia and Zoheb. Especially in the Babra Sharif (acrylic spray paints on paper) artwork, he manages to bring out the trademark spunk associated with the film star. He does the same with Noor Jehan by showing her youthful persona. The iconic voice lags somewhere behind.
Ahmed Ali Manganhar makes an impact on the viewer with his astounding technique. He explodes colours on the canvas and yet they do not appear diffused. Despite their boldness, for some reason, they look pleasing to the eye. The viewer cannot take his eyes of Ahmed Ali Manganhar’s works even when he puts a lot of things together to drive a single point home. His ‘Vintage Heritage’ (acrylic on canvas) is a tour de force where colours assume characters quite inconspicuously. There is a classical air about the artwork, and at the same time it is as contemporary as it gets.
Mr Manganhar’s other notable pieces are ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Donna Lisa’ (acrylic on canvas) that strongly suggest that the artist’s creativity knows no bounds.
The exhibition will continue until January 17.