Art with unconventional trappings | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Art with unconventional trappings

Pakistan Press Foundation

Anil Datta

Karachi: The Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture was host to two totally diverse kinds of exhibitions on Wednesday evening, with, perhaps, the only point of convergence being that both were very unconventional.

One of these exhibitions was a real brain-teaser, requiring an overly fertile imagination to make head or tail of the works.

The artists, Sara Mahmood and Hamir Soomro, both have a very unconventional concept of art. In fact, it would not be out of place to say that these are totally new concepts of the pursuit hitherto unknown.

Sara’s style could be interpreted as situational art. One of her works, “In the name of God”, comprises a corner of the exhibition hall strewn with dusty rocks and boulders underneath a meticulously framed verse from the scriptures.

Sara, being very sensitive to all the futility of life that is so very evident all around us, through this heap of rocks, has tried to convey the present collective psyche of society. What the artist is trying to convey is the apathy, the callousness we assume towards members of society and are totally divorced from their travails and sufferings.

She’s trying to drive home the void left behind for the loved ones when a person bids farewell to this mortal world and how we are most apathetic to the condition of the traumatised loved ones.

Another of her works of art is an overturned trash can with rubbish spilling out. Actually, her art is very wide embracing and there could be as many interpretations as there are viewers.

As she puts it, “From the absence of existence of one’s being to the targeted irradiation of entire communities, the constant that is damaging the fabric of the urban metropolis we live in. These souls don’t have faces in our vocabulary. They are just a casual number, a casualty number…”

Hamir Soomro’s art, on the other hand, was a totally different genre. It was a demonstration of his craftsmanship in ceramics. Sixty-eight of the exhibits on display were a masterpiece of craftsmanship. These artefacts are pots and pans in ceramic made from white clay.

Instead of gas fire, these artefacts are seasoned on fuel wood fire and are kept on this fire for 15-20 hours in an especially designed kiln. The pots and pans carry a greenish tinge which is on account of the wood ash. The marked reddish tinge results from copper which is found in the mountain soil. Thus an important byproduct of the exhibition is the revelation that there are large deposits of the precious metal in our country.

Both Sara Mahmood and Hamir Soomro are on the academic staff of the Indus Valley School. By profession, Soomro is an architect. He also happens to be Mahmood’s pupil. “Sara has been my inspiration and induced me to enter the field,” he says.

Source: The News

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