Drawn Attack opens at Canvas | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Drawn Attack opens at Canvas

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: South Asia is a special region in terms of its socio-political environment and its art and artists. Quite like its colourful, kaleidoscopic and on occasion chequered political history, art too has had its multihued phases, some of which have carried on. The tradition of decorating buildings and artworks is one of them. A two-person exhibition titled ‘Drawn Attack’ opened at the Canvas Art Gallery on Thursday.

According to its organisers, the show intends to explore the conflicting relationship between the decorative tradition and contemporary visual idiom. Well, it is hard to tell whether that’s the case. What’s indisputable, though, is that most of the works put up by Karachi-based artists Aamir Habib and Taqi Shaheen are exceptional, content-wise.

Mr Shaheen examines historical progression of the geographical zone he belongs to in the light of contemporary socio-political upheavals. Yes, the political overtones are loud and clear, but what the artist does intelligently is that he uses the subject matter to create visually appealing artworks which, in a manner of speaking, signifies the aesthetic richness that has endured the vicissitudes of time all along. ‘Are You Serious?’ and ‘Tomorrow is Another Yesterday’ (giclee print on paper) are nice examples of it.

‘The Starry Night’ (giclee print on paper) is not a tribute to Vincent van Gogh’s blue and yellow swirls but draws a view of a craziness (not witnessed from a sanatorium) of a different kind where hostility and violence are the name of the game. However, the artist does pay tribute to a person by the name of Aredshir Cowasjee (giclee print on canvas).

Mr Habib does not deviate from the subject but employs his own, distinct technique. ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ 1 and 2 (photo print, acrylic, LED lights) impress the viewer because of the use of light. It is with ‘Playing on Thin Ice’ (photo print, acrylic) that he gets explicit in terms of topic and proves his mettle as a skilful artist: the billowing smoke is quite the opposite of any surface made of ice. Fire and ice: never the twain shall meet.

The exhibition will continue till Aug 24.


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