Artists, photographers and writers are people who are able to express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings coherently. These people are part of a society but see society in a different perspective. Their work reflect what they think is appropriate for a society to know and realise what's going on around and allow people to look at certain things thoughtfully and seriously.
Considering the role of these three fields in our society a group exhibition titled "Reflection" comprising the works of six artists and six photographers was held at Sanat Gallery, Karachi.
The idea was conceived by R.M. Naeem. For the show each artist produced three pieces; one that shows their signature style, the second being a self-portrait, and the third showing a departure in style and theme. Each of the six photographers has captured one of the six artists as the subject of their photographs, while each artist has engaged with a writer of their choice thus the show was making a link between creation, image and word.
The main purpose of the show was to give space to artists and photographers to evolve and discover something new inside them that has long been hidden and now is the time to find it. They were able to get out of their signature styles and practice new things and thus it went pretty well. The result was great as each of the artist as well as photographer got into a new world to innovate and reinvent their existent mode of work and use their talents in exploring different and exciting ideas that make a change.
Using their imaginations and observations artists produced a signature work and an entirely different work away from their regular approach. While the photographers tried to brought out other dimensions of artists personalities that viewers have never seen before and that new angle help understanding artists and their work.
Every artist has his own identity and unique view of life. Each artist has his personal experience that lead him to a world where he amalgamate his imagination and reality to create artworks that reflects his ideas and experiences about a particular subject. That's what makes a person unique and special. And it also helps in creating individual identities.
"The goal was to present a picture of the artist that was simultaneously objective, subjective, recognizable, and unexpected, employing both a visual and a verbal language, and engaging creativity in its myriad forms," said Abid Merchant Director Sanat Gallery.
Adeel uz Zafar lives and works in Karachi he is an artist, illustrator and educator and holds a BFA (with distinction) from National College of Arts Lahore (1998). For the current exhibition Adeel has chosen to paint a colorful self-portrait thus enhancing his colourful side as he used to work mostly in black and white he showed his another artistic side. And he painted a colourful triptych titled "Embellishment" to deviate from his regular style while in his signature work titled "Chimp" he again explored the black and white a constant colour palette that dominate his images.
Adeel uz Zafar was photographed by Jaffer Hasan for the exhibition in black and white to compliment his signature style and his concept of colour. Jaffer also lives and works in Karachi he is best known for his work in the fashion world. He holds Bachelor in Filmmaking from The Art Institute of Seattle and Bachelor in Film Studies from Concordia at Montreal.
Ali Kazim lives and works in Lahore he is an artist and educator and holds a BFA (with distinction) from National College of Arts Lahore, (2002) and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, (2011). A conversation of Ali Kazim with Julius John Alam was accompanied with his work for the exhibition. He has painted a bare self-portrait in a somber mood looking downwards against a white background to show his personality. He painted a "untitled" painting from 'Ruins' series in pigments on paper while an earthen wear ceramics titled "Fallen Objects" in black explained his love for historical objects.
Ali Kazim was photographed by Khalil Shah in black and white with a parrot on Ali's shoulder, which reminded the historical love for the bird. Khalil Shah also lives and works in Lahore. He is a photographer and he has acquired the best photographer award on the completion of photography diploma from NCA.
Muhammad Zeeshan lives and works in Karachi he is an artist, curator and educator. He holds a BFA from National College of Arts Lahore (2003). A piece by Seher Naveed described effectively the artworks by Zeeshan for the exhibition. He painted seven self-portraits in different colour and grey backgrounds with the portrait in black and white portraying various moods of his self. He has made his signature "Muhammad Zeeshan" in gold against a maroon velvet surface including a 2.5g gold biscuit as a non-signature work. And a signature work a diptych titled "Laal Mary" included an imagery of the flying figure that was derived from traditional legends or folklore and an imagery of a flying female figure derived from the famous Holly Wood movie, titled "Mary Poppins". This showed his interest in popular imagery of mythical creatures, saints, poets and iconic personalities so by using his creative ways he could comment on contemporary issues.
Muhammad Zeeshan was photographed by Amean J. Muhammad in black and white from four sides - front, back, left and right side showing his whole personality equally so that others can understand him more clearly. Amean J. also lives and works in Karachi Graduated with a BFA in Photography from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and he is one of the first in Pakistan to obtain a formal degree in the discipline. He also completed his MA in Media, Culture and Technology from the University of Bedfordshire in the UK.
R.M. Naeem lives and works in Lahore. He is an artist, curator and educator. He holds a BFA (with distinction) from National College of Arts Lahore (1993). Numair A. Abbasi shared a face book conversation between him and R.M. Naeem. It showed how close they are and the conversation helped others to understand him more clearly. R.M. Naeem painted a nude black and white self-portrait with a hint of yellow in a complex composition to deal with his personality. He laid bare various angles of himself to be judged by other people. He painted a painting titled "Connection" in connection to his signature work while a metal objects titled "Art as it is" reflecting its surroundings grab the attention of viewers.
R.M. Naeem was photographed by Hassan Rana in a particular colorful and thematic setting just like a painting. Hassan Rana lives and works in Arifwala. He is an admirer of the works of Zurbaran, Galizia, Cotán, and Baugin. He uses photography as a medium to create painterly images reminiscent of the works of the old masters. He holds a BFA from National College of Arts Lahore.
Waseem Ahmed was photographed by Mudassar Dar. Waseem Ahmed lives and works in Lahore. He is an artist, curator and educator. He holds a BFA (with honors) from National College of Arts Lahore (2000). Mudassar Dar also lives and works in Lahore.
Mudassar Manzoor lives and works in Lahore. He is an artist and educator. He holds a BFA from National College of Arts Lahore (2005). Qudsia Shahnawaz also lives and works in Lahore. Sana Kazi defined in detail the working mood of Mudassar Manzoor and his intellectual approach towards his subjects as a painter. His nude self-portrait titled "Joy is in your own Being" showed him hiding his face with a white lily in his hand having a blue background just like someone sinking in shallow water reached out for help. He painted a diptych titled "Segregation" showing a man and a woman figure surrounded by certain objects just like our society that govern out lives. Another diptych portraying nude portraits of a man and a woman in grey titled "Start of another game of conceptual reality" also depicted the same theme.
Mudassar Manzoor was photographed by Qudsia Shahnawaz like a reflection in a mirror also in black and white. The photograph showed a teddy bear tangled in dried bushes just like childhood memories that live with you forever. Qudsia Shahnawaz holds a BFA from National College of Arts Lahore and an MA Honors from the same university.
(The writer can be reached at [email protected])