Tribute to heritage
By PEERZADA SALMAN
KARACHI: Artists look back in time for multiple reasons. The one reason that almost all artists have in common is their urge to somehow recreate the past to put it alongside the present in order to understand the continuum of history.
An ongoing exhibition at the Gallerie Sadequain, Frere Hall, organised by the culture department and curated by Pomme Amina Gohar, is one such attempt made by the country’s art community. Displaying works of 20 renowned artists, the show has been titled Mera Virsa Mera Khazana.
The show features talent in the realms of art, craft and live performances — the last one grabbed the attention of many visitors on the inaugural day. But what stays with you, and on display, is the paintings and pieces of metal.
Let’s begin with Sumaiyya Jillani’s striking tribute to our songbirds — Madame Noor Jehan and Nazia Hasan, to name a couple. There’s hard-to-describe vivaciousness to her work. I say this because while looking at her paintings the figures in them come alive with mirthfulness around them. But then realising that they’re no more with us, and the fact that performing artistes seldom lead a contented life, the artworks get you thinking. Suddenly, the mood turns pensive. Hats off to Jillani for evoking both feelings in equal measure!
Naushad Alam uses realism, in a manner of speaking, to speak the language of symbols that we are all familiar with but don’t often use it. The doors that he paints belong to a bygone age. They, however, by virtue of personification that happened rather organically, refuse to go away, and instead asked to be knocked on. Why? Because that’s where we can trace vestiges of our past selves.
Similarly, Anwar Ali reminds us of a not-so-distant time when trams were a regular part of our everyday routine. The efficacy of the transport system is not what bothers him; he conveys his ideas by showing the aesthetics of a period when noise had not come to rule us.
Noorjehan Bilgrami remakes Fatima Jinnah’s dress and the paraphernalia around that part of the show conjures an image like a flashback sequence on celluloid.
The rest of the participating artists are Nahid Raza, Marium Saedullah, Abdul Hameed, Ghulam Abbas Kamangar, Jamal Ashiqain, Jimmy Engineer, Mona Naqsh, Farrukh Shahab, Faiza Sami, Wahab Jaffer, Amin Gulgee, Muna Siddiqui and Rizwan Beyg.
The exhibition will run till Dec 10.