Almost three years ago Sanat Gallery, Karachi was launched with artist's residency, in a bid to set the ground for other such initiatives that help towards the development of artists in Pakistan. The gallery was much interested in showcasing the works of fresh, new contemporary artists and provide them space for new experiences and experiments in the field of arts according to the standards and workings that are being done nowadays world over. Hence the main initiative of the gallery was to document the contemporary art of Pakistan.
Continuing that tradition the gallery was hosting its fourth residency titled "Dil to Pagal Hai", which allowed the artists to respond more vigorously to the social influences they bear under certain circumstances. While in a residency they can concentrate and debate their point of view with others and reach a point where they felt satisfied and transform that understanding of a particular issue or point in their works in such a way that others who will view their creation can also understand as they do.
Muhammad Zeeshan curated this fourth Sanat Residency with a group of seven young participating artists. Ahmed Javed, Arslan Farooqi, Haider Ali Naqvi, Jovita Alvares, Noman Siddiqui, Qadir Jhatial and Razin Rubin were the resident artists at the residency programme.
Thus pulsating with life's philosophy covering every aspect of life from current events, economics, politics and social trends to global issues the works of artists at the Sanat Gallery, Karachi residency were true reflections of the world around us.
Sometimes in the contemporary world of art artists share or borrow the images, style or concept of other celebrated artists to vent their strong feelings and emotions as they found the same object or image appropriate for the depiction of their perceptions.
Miniature painting has a long and distant history in our region. Now young upcoming artists create contemporary miniatures unfolding new approach towards a traditional mode of art.
The contemporary miniature works by Arslan Farooqi were like a refreshing breeze in today's miniature practices. He recently graduated from the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore. His approach towards miniature was a bit unusual making his works altogether new for the viewers. Thus he discovered unexplored dimensions of this evergreen traditional style of painting.
Arsalan has explored the idea of death for the residency, a natural phenomena every living thing has to face. He wanted to rediscover death through his work. He came to know some out of the ordinary practices related to death in other cultures. He was inspired by the tradition of Native American funerary ritual, as explained in the catalogue "organic seeds are sown in the belly of the corpse before burial, allowing life to replace death, as a tree in the name of the deceased grows in the times to come."
Based on the title "And in the depth of your hopes and desires, lies your silent knowledge of the beyond" he used his own figurative image to explain the particular practice in his works as video projection and conte on paper. The series of naked images showed movement in his belly as assumed the growth of a tree after death a sign of new life.
Ahmed Javed portrayed the lives of people in present times just like the miniature masters of past who documented the lives of Mughal royals. He painted actual people and their surrounding based on real situations in the city of Karachi but by using old miniatures colour schemes, style and technique. In a way he searches traditions in the present modern times. Old charcters played by new ones.
His untitled diptych in Gouache on wasli revealed the residency at Sanat Gallery. He revealed the atmosphere and working environment at the residency in this painting. He presented all seven resident artists including himself other than the curator Muhammad Zeeshan, and the gallery Director Abid Merchant. Everybody seemed busy in their work of creation or recreation. He carefully portrayed each individual's mannerisms, postures and habits and atmosphere thus created an authentic representation of the environment.
Qadir Jhatial is also a graduate of National College of Arts, Lahore he used sharp even colours in his still life that created a unique appearance to his works. His compositions were clear and simple thus easy to understand by the viewers. He depicted daily used objects that are present in our homes and objects that we encounter while travelling around outside home. Thus he represented the city and its residents in this way through indoor and outdoor objects. The vivid tones of objects showed the aggression as well as warmth in our society.
The sea and its beach are the escape sites for Karachiites and Jovita Alvares explored this view of Karachi through her photo transfer on canvas. People came at the beach to relax and refresh after a tiring day. As the city is polluted with garbage and roads are crowded with traffic. A breath of fresh air at the sea make people's mode light and happy. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city people find solace here and spend some quiet moments to remember afterwards. The cold breeze and the wet sand make people forget their worries for the time being and spend a peaceful time for a while.
Haider Ali Naqvi's drawings of the city in graphite on paper were full of everyday activities. A graduate from the National College of Arts, Lahore he portrayed the port of Karachi where cranes work day and night and people visiting or working at the site make the place twenty four hour active.
The high rise buildings of the city looked like mountains of brick and mortar. Uneven roads, open gutters and big billboards all made of metal and stone gave a feeling of concrete jungle. Devoid of foliage and greenery the under construction roads, bridges and underpasses has made the city a view of a vast wilderness. The Native Jetty Bridge and the Karachi port seemed to fascinate him the most.
Razin Rubin's titles said it all whether his diptych "Boti Boti" or "Smoking Kills" she portrayed her point of view in full anatomy of humans and animals. She used meticulously painted subjects and juxtaposed images. She manipulated the appropriate existing images and objects and redefined them in her works. Her images created dialogue with the viewer and they saw their own experiences in her works.
Noman Siddiqui's golden bicycle tied with colourful balloons seemed to come from a dream world, titled "Khawaish" the bicycle translate the dreams of many. The fibre glass balloons hanging high on the bicycle looks as if they will lift it and start floating in the air.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017