Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
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The gentlemen characters in series of paintings by artist Sophia Balagamwala have potato-faces, wear big shoes; have pointy long nose, bulgy body and mostly closed eyes while wearing medals or an epaulette stuck on a shoulder. Titled "Big Men Wear Really Big Shoes" the solo exhibition at Sanat Gallery, Karachi described the expressions that may conflicts with conventional opinion.

Beside colourful paintings the fiberglass frames also caught the eye of the viewers due to vibrant colour although in soft tones. Pink, blue, purple, green and yellow the frames having floral designs seemed to enhance the look of the paintings. Also the background of paintings were flat and in intense colours. The vivid paintings in acrylic revealed conflict of ideas. She portrayed two opposing ideas, attitudes and emotions at the same time.

The images of men in her paintings have big moustache or a hat according to character it portrayed. A painting depicted thin long legs other than a model of a pair of legs with heavy boots in foam clay, velvet and wood.

Sophia re-imagined the conventional issues with an aim to start a conversation. She seemed to be attracted towards the myths of national heroes and national histories. Viewers not only enjoyed her work they also discussed and talked about the issues highlighted in the paintings.

Using the portraiture style of paintings once popular among elites the powerful and the richest - the aristocrats they used their portrait paintings to depict themselves and their lineage for the world to remember them. Such paintings portrayed their wealth and power in the form of crowns, armors, military accolades, jewels, jewelry, velvet and lace. These things depicted their status in society.

Sophia modified the idea according to her subject's requirement. She very carefully used the symbols of wealth and power in her paintings she changed the outward appearance of the personalities almost completely and morphed them into some cartoon like characters such as horns, long noses, beaks and potato faces. Hence she exaggerated their facial features to make them more noticeable and prominent so they became more interesting for the

viewers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2018


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