News of cocooned dreams and drones
By: Ahtesham Azhar
KARACHI: Canvas Gallery has organised a group exhibition titled ‘Connections’ by Madiha Hyder, Sabina Haque and Samina Jose Islam.
Around 19 works on varied themes are on display.
The work of Samina Jose Islam is the most inspiring among all. Her art pieces revolve around the lives of common people. One of her paintings, ‘Cocoon’ was of a sleeping lady, covered with a white bed sheet. The painter captured the feelings of the woman in her facial features. Similarly, another painting, ‘State of Low Consciousness’ was about two ladies, sleep walking in opposing directions, perhaps signifying how ignorance can cause clash. All of her paintings are on a white background with a focus on faces, hair and in one painting feet, her medium oil on canvas. The surrounding white gives a halo like feeling, emphasising the expressions or lack there of.
‘Day Dream’ by Samina is also about a lady, who looks at the viewer defiantly. However, as per the title, the lady is daydreaming.
As per the artist’s statement, “Sleep is that moment where every human being comes down to the same level. This is the time when we are not on our guard from exterior influences and the outside world. We create our won fantasies, shutting everything out, living in our created secure reality. Not wanting to accept at times the bittersweet truth, we cocoon ourselves into a deep slumber. Being awake are
we truly awake?”
On the other hand, Madiha’s work focuses on the deteriorating law and order situation as well as other problems faced by Pakistanis, a topic that
is being addressed by many contemporary artists.
Her work titled ‘Pictures on My Wall’ depicts a lady, sitting on a sofa, with a mobile in her hands. The walls and sofa are covered with newspapers. The painting expresses the environment we live in, surrounded by news. Where we hear news of violence and terror on a daily basis and inform and discuss with others through SMS.
In another similar painting, ‘I am not alone’ a pregnant lady is sitting near a window with a cup of tea or coffee. As if informing the viewer of the impacts one’s surroundings have, especially for an unborn child. The artist has used
oil on digital print and oil archival pigments on canvas.
Her statement said, “My paintings are a documentation of the recent events occurring around us. They are portraits of ordinary people residing in Karachi, as it is today.
There coexists a number of contrasting elements within this body of work-personal and political issues, domestic and social concerns, public and private spaces, calm and turbulent atmospheres, smooth and rough textures, coloured and achromatic surfaces – the chaos of which reflect our urban surroundings and defines my subjects.”
The work by Sabina is quite similar to Madiha’s but on a different medium and with a distinct style.
Her work ‘Waiting and Wanting’ is an image of a green parrot, sitting above the cage, as if ready to fly away. The painting and its title express that people as well as birds, want beauty and change, peace and prosperity.
Perhaps ‘Drone Shadows, Coming Home’ is the culmination of her work, where she has painted white silhouettes of drones above a rounded up city, country or perhaps the world. The artist’s statement said, “Looking out at Karachi, the narrative is shifting, like a sniper’s gaze I move in a daze from one event to another. Yet there is ebb and the flow of time.
The trees grow bigger; the crimson sunset turns into a midnight blue. Leaving home, I look back at my world through my canvas and my Google screen, mapping out a virtual space, paining this shifting, and this transformation.”
The exhibition will continue till June 6.