Even as controversy breaks out over the fact that Pakistani players weren’t picked for the Indian Premier League, Delhi celebrates art works by Pakistani artists.
Curated by leading Lahore-based contemporary artist Rashid Rana from the Lekha and Anupam Poddar collection at the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, the exhibition, Resemble Reassemble, showcases 45 young and upcoming artists.
Mostly graduates from the three most important schools of art in Pakistan —Beaconhouse National University, National College of Art and the Indus Valley School — some of those participating are Abdullah M I Syed, Ehasan ul Haq, Hamra Abbas, Huma Mulji and several others.
What’s the story?
These works are said to reflect the “ongoing dialogues that the artistic fraternity in the country is having with the rest of the world in inspirations, styles, practices and content”.
“It took me three months to conceive the show with a focus. Anupam (Poddar) had asked me to curate the show one-and-a-half years ago. I did not exactly curate the show, I just put it together. I selected 75 works from the collection and gave them a concept,” said Rashid Rana.
The exhibition tries to “assemble and reassemble old styles, memories, material and ethos” to create relevant images that reflect modern Pakistan.
An installation, Parallel Conflict by Adeela Suleman in steel drain covers, steel silencers, steel bathroom pipes and powder paints, portrays “the dualities inherent in the country in freedom, speech and religion”.
“We have been through very bad times especially during 11 years of Zia’s (former president Mohammad Zia-ul Haq’s) regime. It has bred self-censorship. We try to censor ourselves,” said Rana.
In a delicate and unusual sculpture, Then Both of Us Were Born Anew — video projections on egg shells placed in silver tumblers — a woman draped in the traditional white of mourning breaks into tears and wraps herself in silence. The translucent light from the background illuminates the shells — refracting the image of the woman.
A series of 11 small portraits of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in myriad moods stand out for their meticulous grid work while artist Bani Abidi’s drawings of 12 types of security barriers found in Karachi narrate the common man’s “despair” with the stringent security and inaccessibility in the years of terrorism.
The exhibition is on at Devi Art Foundation, Sirpur House, Plot No 39, Sector 44, (Behind Epicentre), Gurgaon till May 10.