‘Seven Stories’ of life, love, dreams and light
Zaib Azkaar Hussain
Karachi: The themes of life, love, dreams and light were highlighted in the art exhibit titled ‘Saat Kahaniyan’, or Seven Stories, at the Chawkandi Art Gallery.
The display that ran for seven days was highly appreciated by art enthusiasts and critics. They observed that after a long time, bullets and weapons and other negative feelings were not depicted. Instead, feelings of resistance in another form were exhibited in the fresh paintings.
A participating artist, Zain-ul-Mursaleen, said: “We have worked on a different idea to paint stories of love and peace and the inner world of individuals in our ‘Saat Kahaniyan’. In fact, the credit goes to Munawar Ali Syed who curtained the basic idea and motivated us to work on it.”
Commenting on his work, Mursaleen said: “The postures of different colours of life, especially love and beingness, are not being taken as the basic subject of art these days. But we have worked on them as they are part of this universe and there is not concept of existence without them.”
Another participating artist, Summaiya Jillani, also appreciated the idea. She said: “Our teacher has motivated us, and all the participating artists adored the idea, for it was essential to paint the subjective light, instead of concentrating on mere show of love that deals with the objective life.”
She pointed out that she painted inner aspirations and urges to live and exist with passion, peace and love. She said that it was the inner light that made the world more beautiful and peaceful, and in the present times, it was inevitable to explore the subjectivity of mankind in matching with the objective world.
The idea of ‘Seven Stories’, underlined by renowned artist Munawar Ali Syed, was demonstrated in almost all the works of the seven artists: Ammad Tahir, Jahangeer Aalam, Naveed Akhtar, Summaiya Jillani, Zain-ul-Mursaleen, Shahana Munawar and Sara Khan.
Elaborating on his idea, Munawar Ali Syed said storytelling was once an important part of one’s daily life in the Subcontinent.
He said that it was a special genre that presented tales of adventure, magic, love and dreams.
Over time, the genre became so neglected that today storytelling has completely receded from public consciousness, he added.
He said that as an artist and educator, he felt that majority of the people have forgotten how to dream, and lost dreams led to the absence of storytelling.
The idea of ‘Saat Kahaniyan’ was an effort to bring seven visual artists to narrate their dreams, hopes and stories in a visual form, he added.
The works put on display included Ammad Tahir’s ‘When I was a child, I had a fever’; Jahangeer Aalam’s ‘Angelic World’ series; Zain-ul-Mursaleen’s ‘Inked Faith’ series; Summaiya Jillani’s ‘Never been there, yet done that!’
Sara Khan’s ‘Kahani Har Roz Ki’ series showed pen, watercolour, wood, bullet shell and metal on paper; while Shahana Munawar used acrylic on canvas for her ‘Silence in the Sky’ series.
Naveed Akhtar worked in pigments on cloth and canvas for his ‘River, land and moon eclipses’ series. His ‘River and Lost Land’ questioned the disappearance of nature, beauty, love and peace from the universe.