Setting ideas free: Stories of being trapped told through a parrot
By Hifza Jillani
KARACHI: For some, a parrot might just be a bird but in the recent works of artist Hidayatullah Mirani, it represents the apathy of men towards animals and for painter Amir Raza, it is symbolic of how societies have become a slave to their own pre-conceived notions.
The two undergraduates of miniature painting exhibited their works revolving around the theme Trapped at the Full Circle Gallery on Saturday.
Mirani, 23, believes that people are too involved in worldly issues to pay attention to the needs of their fellow beings – animals. “In my previous works, I focused on human issues but now I have turned my attention towards wildlife, particularly birds,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune. “This form of art has the ability to change the society’s mindset and behaviour towards other creatures.”
His paintings are predominantly focused on birds, portraying how they have become a prey to society’s indifference. Through this series, he hopes that people will do away with their pleasures of trapping and hunting down the species. “My paintings are not only for one section of the society. I hope that it can be appreciated by everyone.”
For Raza, however, the theme related to being trapped by one’s limited knowledge and society’s values and norms. “’Zehni azaadi nahi hai [there is no freedom of minds],” said the graduate of the National College of Arts in Lahore. “Our world does not appreciate truth or change – we do what we are told, just like parrots.”
Using the symbol of parrot, grenades and barbed wires, Raza from Mirpurkhas, attempted to reflect on society’s ‘slave-like’ state.
The paintings of Osama bin Laden, called Shahbash [well done], speak of followers who are content with following their leaders’ agendas without questioning the motives or reasoning.
While taking about another painting, Selfish, he told The Express Tribune that he has replaced the top half of the United States President Barack Obama’s face with a parrot’s as he believes that the leader has the tendency to give in to his selfish instincts.
Muhammad Zeeshan, 33, a renowned painter who brought together the two artists was happy with how the themes of both artists interlinked. “It was a pleasant coincidence to come across two artists working on similar themes and that too with the same medium – gouache on wasli.”
The curator at Full Circle, Guddo Haider, was hopeful that visitors would appreciate the talented artists. “We believe in promoting art irrespective of the painter’s background.”
Other artists who visited the show were all praise for the artists. “Their artwork is different and contemporary, yet very subjective,” said Sarim Bokhari, an art enthusiast and a graduate of public policy from Singapore.
Pakistani veteran artist, Touseef Sohail, was of the opinion that both painters had a long road ahead of them. “These boys can only achieve their dreams by overcoming the hard times which every artist comes across.”