Walk the line: Three artists endeavour to uncover society’s complexities
KARACHI: ‘Line and length’ as a phrase seems simple but, the exhibition at Chawkandi Art Gallery under the same title brings out the complexity of society.
The exhibition features the works of three artists, including Arif Hussain Khokhar, Arif Ahmed Ali Manganhar and Munawar Ali Syed.
Syed’s straight lines crossing each other in a meshwork reveal what resides in the artist’s heart. “For me, drawing is like therapy, you have to keep doing it,” he said while speaking to The Express Tribune.
The criss-cross structures appear like birds’ nests, with some birds peeking at the viewers from the inside. “It symbolises Karachi’s urbanisation,” said Syed while speaking about the inspiration behind his works. “We live inside flats, glued to our television screens. Are we really free or live under the impression of freedom?”
The works of Khokhar focus on raising social issues and questioning the status quo. His graphite on canvas display is simple yet poignant.
A tawa [pan] plays the central role and shades of graphite tend to vary from one another, some appearing darker than the rest. “These are four Pakistan being represented on the tawa,” he explained.
When asked about the significance of the tawa, he said it is both a unifying and differential symbol of our country. “Punjab appears to be the darkest,” he remarked, making the viewer believe that the artist is commenting on the fertility of the land.
Another noticeable feature of Khokhar’s work is the bases of single line and four line canvases he has used in two of his works to depict the English versus Urdu dilemma in our society.
“Even if someone talks nonsense, as long as it is being said in English it is considered the highest of intellectualism,” he said, laughing at the irony.
Manganhar’s work on collage paper seems like an abstract of colors, with hues surrounding them but, the viewers are captivated by the repressed darkness in the series, titled ‘Flesh of My Flesh.’
Shades of brown give the impression of actual flesh, but the works give the feel that an aura is summoning the viewers from the canvas. The exhibition will continue till February 24.