Women and colours
By: Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: One of the goals of a portrait artist is, or should be, to convincingly interpret the language of the countenance.
This means the viewer must have a sense of how life manifests itself in one particular part of the human body: the face. This has been going on for centuries, as there is nothing more intriguing in physlognomy than what appears in the form of an expression: pain, grief, exasperation, joy and indifference.
The exhibition of Farazeh Syed’s work, which opened at the Unicorn Gallery on Friday, has, primarily, Punjab’s women as the main theme. The one thing that stands out in the exhibition is the artist’s capacity to empathise with her subject: the common folk.
Let’s overlook the fact that Farazeh Syed was once an apprentice to the distin-guished artist Iqbal Hussain.
Her effort itself is no mean achievement. The women (mostly from the lower social stratum) that she’s painted tell stories, not always in forceful fashion though, because while looking at some of them the viewer can get defocused and start concentrating on what lies in thebackground or what surrounds the face. Hence the play on bold colours and tidbits sometimes takes the attention away from the face(s). Not always, mind you.
Like all good artists, Farazeh Syed knows well that the window into the soul of any human being is their eyes.
‘Shahnaz-2’ (011 on canvas) is aprominent example. The eyes are wide open and portray bewilderment. They have a tinge of red in them as well, which somehow corresponds with the blackness of the hair.
It is not a picture which will fill the viewer with contentment. It will make him/her think, which is good.
‘Salma’ (oil on canvas) is not bewildered but has fear in her eyes. Inexplicable fear.
The fruit and a fishbowl clearly indicate element of fertility, therefore all the objects are related.
One striking aspect of Farazeh Syed’s art is her ability to effectively paint men and women when they are asleep. The viewer can sense tiredness or lethargy which leads to snoozing. ‘Boy Sleeping’ (oil on canvas) endorses the observation.
However, it is Farazeh Syed’s charcoal and ink work which impresses the most.
‘Nisa Sleeping’ (ink) and ‘Noori-4’ (ink) give a clear indicate that the artist is a sharp student of life. The rusticity of the character (Noori) is evident from the posture.
The detailing in the inkwork is worth viewing over and over again.
The exhibition will run till Jan 20.