Tangible Art

Author: Peerzada Salman | Publication: Dawn– Metropolitan (p.18) | Dated: 1 Apr 2014

KARACHI: Can artists remain apolitical in a politically charged society? Certainly not. What happens is that some of them react to political situations with a great deal of subtlety and some express themselves making no bones about it. The three noted artists – Abdul Jabbar Gull, Meher Afroz and R.M. Naeem – who have put their artworks on display at the Chawkandi Art Gallery fall in the second category. The heartening thing is that their exhibits may have a definite sociopolitical overtone, but the aesthetics involved in creating a work of art have not been compromised.

Afroz poignantly touches upon an issue that has scarred Pakistani society in recent times in her ‘Main Hazara Hoon’ series (acrylic on canvas). The hands that the viewer sees speak of both helplessness and struggle. They look like a separated part of the body; they’re not. They signify a collective struggle going on in fragments. And the struggle is more than palpable.

R.M, Naeem teases the viewer with his ‘No- where’ series (acrylic on canvas). His artworks appear personal to the core, but then the bearded face, perhaps cut off from the body, in ‘No- where III’ imparts an impersonal and political angle to the artwork. A closer inspection would suggest that the image is contemporary and readily identifiable.

Abdul Jabbar Gull turns ‘Paradise’ (wood, aluminium and MS) into a complex study. The floral pattern surrounding or accompanying the dour face talks about one thing and means another. It’s up to the viewer to get to the bottom of the hidden message. The message may not be a palatable one.

The exhibition titled ‘Tangible Concerns’ continues until April 2.