Artists from Karachi, Islamabad reveal their tale of the two cities
By: Hifza Jillani
KARACHI: In this tale of two cities, Karachi is predictably violent and Islamabad is transient.
This is how two artists from Karachi and Islamabad – Shazia Qureshi and Tahira Noreen – feel about their respective hometowns. The artists will be displaying their works at VM Art Gallery starting today.
Qureshi titled her work ‘Organised Chaos’ to reflect the situation in the port city. She deliberately kept the language of her work abstract and the colours sharp to show that the city and its inhabitants are only fighting for survival. “I have considered what is happening right now in my own capacity and as an artist, I have recorded what I perceived,” she told The Express Tribune.
For Qureshi, the art is derived from the elements behind the chaos in this city, namely the political set-up, psychological influence and the law and order situation. “Living in this city is like living in a jungle,” she admitted. “The difference is that in a jungle we would carry weapons, but here we are empty-handed, completely defenceless.”
About her painting that looks like an eye in black and white, Qureshi tried to show how the inhabitants of the city have entered a void but have nowhere to go. “Invisible forces have occupied our spaces and are here to stay.”
On the go
The 28-year-old Islamabad-based artist, Noreen, compiled her works under the title of ‘Journeys’ to describe her experience of travelling – not only outside the city but also within it. For her, art and travelling are interlinked as she gets her inspiration whenever she travels. Noreen has spent most of her life living in Lahore and Islamabad.
“Since I was a student, I have been travelling a lot,” she explained. “Going to different places and meeting new people has really inspired me.”
This is the first time Noreen has exhibited her works in Karachi. She captured both the monotonous and the vibrant aspects of travelling, claiming that her art works are usually very subtle and transparent – reflective of her own life and personality. Calling her paintings travelogues of her journeys, Noreen explained that she used vibrant colours to capture the essence of Shanghai, Istanbul and London.
The gallery director, Riffat Alvi, was intrigued by the unique medium Noreen used. “When Tahira came to us, I realised that she has used an entirely different medium as she uses coloured scotch tape on canvas,” she told The Express Tribune. Being an artist herself, Alvi said she is always supportive of young emerging artists. Alvi also praised the works of Qureshi whom she has worked with before. Qureshi has always emphasised on city life, war and its effects on psychology, she added.
The exhibition will open today from 5pm to 8pm and will continue till October 15.