One of the many definitions of romance is that it’s a combination of wild and irrational ideas. Every famous love story has some element of irrationality at its core. This makes an artist’s job all the more difficult to depict romance in the form of a painting or sculpture. An exhibition of artist Zebun Zuby’s artworks depicting the subcontinent’s love stories taken from its folk tradition opened at the Majmua Art Gallery on Thursday. It is an interesting effort in the sense that among other things it captures, through oil-on-canvas exhibits, the essence of those tales by trying to keep true to their characters’ colourfulness.
Take, for example, the story of Mirza-Sahiban. Zuby doesn’t lose out on the vibrancy and loudness of the colours that are the hallmark of that part of the region to which Mirza-Sahiban belonged, but distinguishes it by virtue of the postures of the two protagonists. It’s the manner in which they fill up the frame and make the background seem less important, which is not the case, is quite intriguing.
Omer-Marvi and Heer-Ranjha appear to be just as glowing individuals as Mirza-Sahiban.
In the Heer-Ranjha composition, the distinction is Ranjha’s flute. It comes into view as the third character. And this character is integral to the whole yarn. It is because of the flute that the romance is heightened and the misery of the tragic situation that the couple faces is lessened.
If Omer’s wistful appearance gels with the general atmosphere of the show, then Marvi’s flowing hair helps it move in a different direction — a direction where love takes over all other feelings.
The exhibition is on for 15 days.