‘Felicity’ opens at Canvas
KARACHI: Interpreting cultural norms in a post-modern setting is a pretty formidable task. Artists construe trends by using unconventional techniques trying to get a sense of patterns set from time immemorial. It is an encouraging sign that young Pakistani artists are willing to break moulds and think out of the box to create art in their endeavour to understand or feel the issues that are of concern to them. An exhibition of Sana Arjumand’s artworks titled ‘Felicity’ opened at the Canvas Art Gallery on Tuesday. Don’t be misled by the title of the show, because there’s irony, delectable at that, involved in the word ‘felicity’.
The irony can be viewed as smart artistic remarks by Sana Arjumand on the socio-cultural practices that she’s witnessed. Fittingly, the first exhibit is called ‘Learning to Fly’ (acrylic on wasli). The learning is not of elementary. There are snags of a different kind that impede the learning process.
‘Nectar or Knowledge’ (tea wash, acrylic, oil and embroidery on wasli paper) brings into view the artist’s ability to turn technique into message. There’s no element of wit or irony here which hints at the fact that in order to have a clearer understanding of things one has to go through strenuous experiences.
‘Ascension 2’ and ‘Travelling towards the Heart’ (digital print on canvas) are two remarkable works of art. Their symbolism aside, they are a visual treat to watch. There can be quite a few ways to interpret these pieces (auto-pilot flight, truck art in the air, feelings in limbo, etc) but what stands out is the visually richness of the images.
‘Rich Man’ (coin impressions, acrylic gel, acrylic paint, oil on canvas) has a touch of literality to it primarily because of the use of coin impressions because even if the artwork hadn’t been captioned, the viewer would have treated it thus. And yet, it is metaphorically as meaningful as any other exhibit on display. However ‘Capitalism’, despite being made with the same media, belongs to a different category, content-wise. It is a witty comment not just on the ism but also on the gullibility of those who believe in isms.
‘Overlapping Dimensions’ (oil on canvas) is about perceptions and opinions, the subjectivity of issues which often eclipses their objective aspects.
The exhibition will continue until Sept 5.