Bicultural gala at VM Gallery
By Ahtesham Azhar
KARACHI: British Council Arts Programme, Scottish National Portrait Gallery and VM Art Gallery, part of the Rangoonwala Foundation Trust, exhibits ‘Migrantegrations; Migration and Integration Stories from Pakistan and Scotland’.
The exhibition is being held at the VM gallery, with Qudsia Rahim and Fazal Rizvi as curators.
The exhibit boasts 14 portraits, expressing the different stories of people, who have migrated to Scotland and made it their home.
One of the portraits is of Karachi-born Sana Bilgrami, sitting next to her Scottish husband along with three children. Bigrami is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She studied film at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec before earning a Masters degree at Edinburgh College of Art when she shot her short film ‘Under my Skin’. Bilgrami’s Tree Fellers was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland award for Best Television Documentary.
Similarly, another portrait was of Bashir Ahmed Maan, (CBE), who is sitting along with his extended family including children and grandchildren. It is pertinent to mention here that Maan has worked on various keynote designations.
Portrait of Farooq Hussain is also on display, with his Pakistani father and Scottish mother, while seated on sofa at their home in Clydebank.
Migration Stories: Pakistan looks at Scotland’s links with Pakistan, which date back as far as the seventeenth century when thousands of Scots lived and worked in British India. In turn thousands of Pakistanis made Scotland their home.
Scots of Pakistani heritage make up the largest ethnic community in Scotland. Around 47 percent of the community was born in Scotland. This exhibition highlighted the significance and valuable contributions they are making to the country as a whole.
The exhibit also runs ‘Fragments of A Love Story’, a specially commissioned film for the Migration Stories: Pakistan. The film explores the story of Sana Bilgrami’s great-grandfather who came to Edinburgh from India to study medicine.
A hundred years later, coincidentally living in Edinburgh herself, the director pieces together fragments of archives and fiction to tell the story.
The other section of the exhibition is on Hal Bevan Petman, based on two parts: The Social Painter, The Petman Girls.
The Social Painter is a collection of 14 portraits by Henry Charles ‘Hal’ Bevan Petman, (1894-1980), a British portrait painter who came to the Indian sub-continent in the 1920s, and made it his home.
The Petman Girls is a documentary that immerses itself in the lives of old Pakistani women who were painted in their prime more than forty years ago by the artist, Hal Bevan Petman (1894-1980). Through their interviews, the documentary acts as an open exploration of the artist behind the paintings and what was it like to be painted during those times in Pakistan.
“Migrantegration is a look into migration and integration stories between Pakistan and Scotland in the last one century. It is a celebration of inclusion, acceptance and multiculturalism in a world that is exceedingly marked and differentiated by borders. The unique feature of the show is the two sides it presents.
It carves out a poignant portrait of Scottish and Pakistani individuals and families who migrated and made either country their home,” said the curators in a joint statement.
Source: Daily Times