The language of lines
KARACHI: They say if you don’t know how to draw a straight line you cannot become an artist. Wrong. If you don’t understand the language that lines speak, you’ll struggle to know what art is all about. The veracity of this observation can be gauged at the Koel Art Gallery where a three-person exhibition titled ‘Line as Language’ is under way. The participating artists are Aakif Suri, Faisal Asghar and Naveed Sadiq.
The first three exhibits are collaborative, that is, the artists have worked together on them. The media they’ve used is graphite pencil, ballpoint, and tea wash on paper. The fragmented images, perhaps symbolising scattered ideas, that the artists have drawn are visually strong. Of course, they’re images that are not alien to our society.
Naveed Sadiq, in his individual work, expands on societal shortcomings by discussing issues such as ‘Mera Tera, Tera Mera’ (tea wash and graphite pencil on paper) indicating how an inward-looking approach to life can make collective weaknesses seem more pronounced. The symbol of animals to put the message across is an effective way of doing that.
Perhaps the one artwork that does justice to the title of the show the most is Faisal Asghar’s ‘Sleeping Head’ (ballpoint on paper). It’s a striking work of art. Lines turn into a posture and a feeling in a faultless manner. It is not easy for the viewer to interpret the picture despite having a name (sleeping head), and that’s where the beauty of the exhibit lies. It’s a saddening scene. It may be an image of a sleeping individual but the fact that it’s only the head that is being portrayed lends an air of mystery to it, which, placed against the contemporary backdrop of tumult and terror, magnifies the subject matter.
Aakif Suri continues with the same topic but gives it his own touch to it. In his ‘Baa Adab’ series (graphite on paper), he plays with the identity of the individuals with folded hands by making their faces hide in smudged strokes. What he also does a bit differently is that he brings in the themes of fertility and lack of imagination. It brings colour into the greyness of things, metaphorically speaking.