Political visuals: Striking a raw nerve through art
By Sehrish Ali
ISLAMABAD: As political games unravel before the imminent elections, a group of artists has undertaken to mock the situation with satire. Titled “All puns end with guns”, an exhibition featuring five upcoming artists opened at Rohtas Gallery on Thursday.
Each artist tackles the scenario with tangible zest, remaining seamlessly relevant. The gallery’s curator Mona Khan explained that the series centres on themes of socio-political discontent and the inherent reaction to persistent feelings of dissent such as indifference, intolerance and loss of self. The show has been conceived to revisit the use of the vernacular and visual pun to shed light on issues which implicate individuals in a conflict-ridden state.
Samra Roohi has worked with lenticular prints, that are more photojournalistic and bank heavily on dark humour with her “Spot the difference” series. “My work is all about changing perception,” she said.
Her pieces reveal an image from two dimensions – a young man walking along a footpath with water pails on his shoulders, shift a little to the left and the water pail is replaced with a Kalashnikov, a peaceful protest from one angle and a raging mob from another angle.
On the other hand, her Rs5,000 notes are perhaps the best pun on the political leadership. Each note reflects Quaid-i-Azam from one dimension and Imran Khan, Musharraf and even Altaf Hussain replacing the Quaid’s face from another angle. One cannot help but laugh out loud at this odd but apt play on images.
Duo Imrana Tanveer and Aly Naqvi have worked on separate pieces, though following the common theme. A textile artist, Tanveer incorporates historical references to question the ongoing social and political disorder.
From Manmohan wearing funky sunglasses to a bloodied image of political talks, she has stuck to the theme. “I wanted to document situations that were perhaps awful and pressing but present them in a more beautiful manner,” she said.
Inclined to keep abstract, Naqvi has infused his architectural sensibilities by sticking to geometrical lines and shapes, entering into an artist’s domain with the amalgamation of contemporary art practice and architecture.
“Oh well” the only piece by Azanat Mansoor is perhaps a direct hit at the media and the disconnect we face everyday with hard-hitting news that should otherwise shake us – a yawning newscaster about to inform the public about yet another breaking news. Moreover, Suleman Mengal’s only piece “Faces it” garners some appeal.
Source: The Express Tribune