Karachi Inmates opens at Alliance Francaise
By: Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: Kudos to all those who came up with the idea of imparting art training to prison inmates in one of the jails in the city. It’s been more than five years since an art school was started in the Karachi central jail and the kind of work that has been regularly coming out of it is nothing less than worth marvelling at.
An exhibition of works by senior students of the Karachi central prison’s Fine Arts School titled ‘Karachi Inmates’ opened at the Alliance Francaise on Thursday. The organisers of the show have categorised the exhibits as ‘impressionistic’ but some of them defy classification in a good way. Take for example the extremely talented Syed Jawad Ali Shirazi. It is quite remarkable how he has used the theme of ‘time’ in virtually all of his artworks on display. Despite the fact that the presence of a clock can be an obvious indicator, he has used it in creative ways through the intelligent use of colours or by introducing characters who are a victim of time’s tyranny. He does not stop there and experiments with technique keeping the same subject matter. This means, in one exhibit he makes the same images in black and white without losing out on the intensity of the theme.
Hasnain Raza recreates a heart-wrenching scene of a young boy with a look of horror on his face standing amidst an apparently slummy environment. The artist has intriguingly titled the artwork ‘Career’.
Kazim Raza takes the abstract route with topics such as hope and music. It has to be said that he has surgeon-like control over the paintbrush because the lines that he draws speak volumes for his skill and craft.
Another standout exhibit is by Abdul Aziz Bugti. It is called ‘Hope’, a portrait of an old woman. The artist has kept the face of the woman grey and creasy while the rest of the painting has shades of other colours; but it is the true-to-life wrinkly face and the penetrating gaze of the woman that makes the viewer stand in front of the artwork for a long, long time.
The other participating artists, whose work is no less noteworthy, are Faraz Ahmed, Zia Niazi, Samar Abbas, Muhammad Ashfaque, Ghulam Mustafa, Faisal Rahim, Muhammad Kashif, Shehzad and Ahsan Khairi.
The exhibition will run until March 28.