An Exhibition Tackling Some Hideous Truths

DATED: 26 AUG 2007

Munawar Ali Syed, an artist from Hyderabad has demonstrated the misrepresentation of facts in media, using his pen and ink drawings and sheesham sculptures in an art exhibition titled Over loaded. The opening reception of this exhibition was held on August 24 at the Chowkandi Art Gallery and the exhibition will continue daily between 11.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m. till August 30.

The exhibits illustrate propagation through mass media. At first sight, the paper drawings appear to be childish scribbles but on closer scrutiny, the images become clearer. The images show a woman with a protruding belly, missiles, and eyes (literally depicting one persons viewpoint). ln the words of Syed, “the amalgamate forms are overloaded with multiple meanings, negating each other towards self-destruction, they also reflect the duality of our advancement and extremism; fervour and uncertainty; clarity and blurred vision.”

The sculptures done in sheesham are in the form of tall missiles and round bombs but once again upon closer inspection, one can see carvings on the sculptures. A missile on display is shaped in the form of a woman in hijab, perhaps hinting at a suicide bomber. There is also a headless statue titled MTV Loaded comprising a man whose ribs are showing. He is also shown wearing a belt and shorts. The suggested irony is apparent here; we are advancing in so many ways and yet remain so backward in others. Another sculpture has feet sticking out at the top. There are also depictions of statues with hand prints and empty stomachs. Several statues also feature human hand prigs on the form and hence appeared somewhat provocative.

Titles such as self exile, thinker, Lolly wood vs lal wali and overloaded` also indicate the significance of these sculptures. Syed has sculpted his version of the Venus of Willendrof, a sculpture of a woman with a protruding belly found in 1908 in Lower Austria. The prices of his drawings range from Rs 11,000 to 15,000 while the sculptures are priced between Rs 40,000 to 95,000.

Other sculptures, shaped like eyeballs, cost between nine to 15,000 rupees. Durriya Kazi, head of the department visual studies at the University of Karachi, commented on Munawars work and said that he has “…found his true voice, the work has a maturity of imagery and metaphor, and reflects a growing trend of bold statements by artists against the self-destructive nature of protest that this nation had chosen to adopt.”