Monolith & Conversation IV open at VM -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Monolith & Conversation IV open at VM

By: Peerzada Salman

KARACHI: Babar Moghal is an established artist. Whenever he exhibits his works, his subjects and the way he deals with them become equally intense points of debate, which means with him form and content are one and the same… well, almost.

The latest exhibition of his works, titled Monolith, opened at VM Art Gallery on Tuesday. There is a reason the show organisers have highlighted the fact that it’s his drawings (pencil on paper) and not sketches that are on display.

And that reason is: the latter (sketches) carries an element of rawness, deliberate or unwitting, which may not be a desirable thing to publicise. The organisers are spot-on. Babar Moghal’s drawings are refined artworks, and noticing that they’re done with a free-flowing attitude makes it all the more special. Even more interesting is his not-easy-to-handle subjects.

The first exhibit is ‘Equinox’. It might look like an abstraction of a concrete idea. But the second piece, Chaos Dynamics, makes things comprehensible as to what the artist is trying to achieve. It’s the disorder within as well as in the outside world that he wants to touch on. It may be not be understandable, it is seeable nonetheless. Hence, the surrealistic illustration of a thought process!

‘Death of Imagination’ reverts to a theme that Babar Moghal has off and on discussed in his artworks. The hollowed part of the head indicates the barrenness of the mind. The barrenness can be ascribed to a number of factors, but it is man himself who is chiefly responsible for it. There is something innately wrong with the creature. In his statement related to the show, Babar Moghal writes, “Dove represents peace… but in real life that dove is not so peaceful to a worm.”

This reviewer’s favourite exhibit is ‘Moonstone Altar’. It is a fantastic work of imagination. It is one of those rare pieces in which technique eclipses everything else. The ultra whiteness of the subject doesn’t allow the viewer to view the moon hovering above.

Apart from that, Babar Moghal has played with mythological symbols in pieces like ‘Nayaran’ and ‘Nile Song’. This provides a certain kind of diversity to the exhibition which is always impressive.

Conversation IV

Also inaugurated at VM Art Gallery on Tuesday was an exhibition of works of four young artists, Asmaa Hashmi, Yasmeen Salman, Sehba Maruf and Aliya Yousuf. The artists have displayed more than two dozen artworks made in different media.

Sehba Maruf’s exhibits (acrylic, dry point on treated mount board) have an interrogatory vibe, that is, they raise questions, and pertinent ones at that. The play of red and black colours in ‘Wings of Desire’ in particular is worth watching.

In untitled works (mixed media), Asmaa Hashmi shuns the idea of pragmatism and treads a path where the emotive aspect of existence assumes importance. Aliya Yousuf, through her work in terracotta, tries to make a link between the tangible and the intangible, whereas Yasmeen Salman’s work point towards the spiritual facet of life.

Both exhibitions will continue till Sept 24.