Land, water and art -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Land, water and art

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Pakistani art practitioners are familiar with Australian artist Damon Kowarsky. Not because he has worked in Pakistan, but because what he creates resonates with the country’s art lovers. An exhibition of his new set of prints, some of which are done in collaboration with Mathew Greentree, that opened at the Art Chowk Gallery on Thursday is another testimony to the quality of work that he produces on a regular basis.

The show is intriguingly titled Across the Land and the Water. One of the reasons for the rubric could be the artist’s penchant for travelling which enables him to imbibe cultural diversity.

Diversity has a broader context, by the way. So, the first exhibit by Kowarsky and Greentree called ‘Hearing Distance’ (etching and aquatint) introduces the viewer to an atmosphere whose commonness is stark. It features guns. The artists’ focus on distance is important. Guns and distance conjure a menacing image. Here, it is more of a dour picture. The characters are in a pensive mood, which may have been born out of uncertainty.

Then you realise that’s not what the artists are driving at. Hands play just as significant a role in the scheme of things as guns.

‘Holding Pattern’ makes the viewer understand this. Therefore, the idea is to juxtapose the intention (or lack of it) and the instrument that is used to comply with that intention. But at the heart of it all is people — multifaceted individuals.

From people the show moves to architecture, and now the viewer sees Kowarsky drawing a different trajectory. His take on, for example, ‘Bur Dubai’ and ‘Muscat’ is unusual. He seems to be more interested in their pristine look, and yields good results. That said, there’s a brooding feel to his artwork ‘Te Aro’. It makes it more of a sentient being than a locale. And that’s what sets it apart from the rest of the lot. The exhibition will continue until March 23.


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