Half truths, half pictures | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Half truths, half pictures

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: An exhibition of paintings by distinguished artist Ayaz Jokhio opened at Canvas Art Gallery on Tuesday.

Jokhio is one of those artists who do not like to be pigeonholed. Fair enough. Most artists don’t like to be put into boxes, unless they claim to have created a box for themselves. But it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that Jokhio’s strong attachment to the land he belongs to, in terms of the issues or subjects that have been plaguing our society for a long time, makes him a commentator of sorts. The marked feature of his commentary is that it never loses sight of the innate aesthetics of both art and life.

The latest series of his works has a theme: completeness of half, cropped pictures. The artist has given his admirers something to both look at; and then desperately wanting to look at that part of the image(s) which is not visible. This urge that he inculcates in the viewer is a successful attempt at highlighting the half truths that exist in our part of the world.

Perhaps the best illustration of it is an artwork titled ‘Madam’ (oil on canvas). The very word madam, in the context of subcontinental societies, conjures a personification of an atmosphere that is not always socially acceptable. Jokhio’s concealment of the major portion of the protagonist’s physical self makes the viewer doubt the conventional understanding of the conjured image. This is visual deception of another kind where art surpasses life in its intricacy.

The situation is reversed in ‘Taj Mahal’ (oil on canvas) with the same result. The invisibility of the half of the picture, not to mention the interesting detailing in the foreground and background of what’s visible, blurs the line between perception and reality. Perception follows reality, and reality seems uncatchable.

With reference to the power of ‘medium as message’, the painting ‘Radio Pakistan’ (acrylic on board) is the most interesting piece on display. The lack of colour in the picture, as it were, does not speak of an underdeveloped technological time period, but of a history that’s overshadowed by socio-politicking.

The show will be open till Feb 11.