‘Weed’ paintings at Canvas Gallery
KARACHI: Canvas Gallery is exhibiting ‘Weed’ by Zehra Laila Javeri, elder sister of famous photographer Tapu Javeri.
The show is the centre of attraction for many, especially those involved in the fashion industry.
Around 30 of her artworks are on display, spanning 20 years of painting. This is Zehra’s first show and despite spanning two decades, all the paintings seem interconnected with each other, with ‘Weed’ being the recurrent aspect.
Zehra has captured women and their emotions and feelings at different moments on her canvas in fluid movements and bright oil colours.
Most paintings are dark and sombre, with the human figure stuck in tentacle like weed. Her themes seem to resonate with contemporary works, especially in South Asia.
One of her paintings, ‘Ocean Bound’ is of a girl in deep thought, restrained by weeds and branches of a tree. The background depicts nighttime and perhaps seashore. Perhaps the message or the idea behind the art piece was that the world is like an ocean for any woman and she can do whatever she wants, but her obligations do not allow her always and she is very firm with her commitments and duties.
‘White Moth’ is about the simplicity and glory of a woman, wearing a red dress while moving ahead in moonlight. Again, the weeds are visible, as if the woman in red with her flowing red mane is swimming through the liquid night in pursuit of white butterflies.
“I used these symbols for movement and her obligations,” Zehra said while talking to Daily Times.
Another ‘Karachi: A fine romance’ is about a girl with a white pigeon in one hand and a knife in the other, while her chest is cut and heart is visible. Through this inspiring art piece, the artist conveyed her message of peace and love of the mega city.
She said, “I am a woman and like to paint women. Painting women on canvas is not an easy task, as one has to give all kinds of expressions and emotions.” Her paintings are about expressions and feelings of women, she said, adding that women are more emotional than any other creation.
He statement said, “To me art is visual and not verbal so, as I write this, I find it impossible to translate one into the other. Simply put, I paint because I cannot not paint. And I paint what I see.”
Talking about her background, she informed that she studied briefly with her aunt, the late artist Laila Shahzada. “I trained in drawing, bronze sculpture with the inspirational Leonard Delonga, printmaking and watercolour; everything except oil painting. I continued to pursue sculpture as I completed a double major in English Literature and Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College, but after a junior year programme to study anthropology and archaeology in Greece, I returned to a barren studio as Delonga has passed away,” Zehra explained the evolution of her art training.
Renowned art critic Marjorie Husain commenting over her work and said, “Art has been a facet of Zehra Laila Javeri’s life since her earliest memory. She expressed her feelings on the plight of the city, of women as victims of violence, personal concerns and of the world. Nature in diverse moods and women displayed as central to the theme. They are portrayed with strong linearity and translucent skin tones that suggest an unearthly quality such as mythological characters from classical themes.”
The exhibition will continue until January 30.