'Portraiture' opens at Art Chowk -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘Portraiture’ opens at Art Chowk

By: Peerzada Salman

KARACHI: They say appearances can be deceptive. When it comes to artists, they make sure that they or those who they look up to come across as people that are not easy to size up. There’s a reason for it. Artists see the universe in an uncommon way. For them the process of self-discovery as well as the affection for their ideals is not a constant. It is an ongoing exercise. An exhibition titled ‘Portraiture’, opened at the Art Chowk Gallery on Saturday, endorses the observation that the artist fraternity is perhaps one of the very few communities that can be self-critical and self-analytical without being apologetic about it.

Despite being a group show having artworks of a number of painters and sculptors, the display is pleasing to the eye because of individual brilliance of some exhibits. Seasoned artist Mansur Salim’s ‘Self’ (oil on canvas) has a figure without a face. What’s visible is a beret and a sweater. It is not a unique idea, but there is a satirical touch to the artwork that cannot be missed.

The young S.M. Raza, who has loads of talent, has opted for a different path. His untitled piece (graphite and pencil on paper) shows an erased portion of one side of the face. It gives the impression as if the artist has deliberately rubbed out that part.

That’s not it. It is his quest for self knowledge that indicates the feeling of incompleteness in terms of (artistic) growth. Salman Hasan handles the same subject in yet another way through his photographic work. He blurs the images and creates an effect that despite being inscrutable makes the viewer understand the concept.

Michelle Farooqi impresses with her insightful oil-on-canvas artworks called ‘Ester’ and ‘Urooj in Red’. The artist has sharp as a tack observation and her attention to detail is worth noticing. The way she has captured the ‘mood’ of the subject, particularly in ‘Ester’, is top-notch artistry. The bags under the eyes, the swiveled neck and the sullen eyes of the protagonist in the picture are striking.

Master artist Saeed Akhtar’s works, too, adorn the gallery walls. Among them ‘The Portrait of Shakir Ali – 1985’ (oil on canvas) is a special piece. Of course, everybody knows what Saeed Akhtar is capable of doing, so no need to wax eloquent on that.

An interesting exhibit, which goes off on a tangent technique wise, is by Omar Farid titled ‘Self-Portrait as a Simpleton’ (acrylic on paper). It is intelligently made and the title is spot on.

The exhibition will be open till Nov 6.