|Voices From Jamshoro
by AMEER HAMZA AHMAD
The IVS Gallery, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture recently featured the works of four artists from Jamshoro in an exhibition titled "Tales from the Desert – 4 Voices from Jamshoro". The event showcased the work of Shafique Ahmed Tunio, Zahid Hussain Farooqui, Zeeshan Ahmed Memon and Zubair Ahmed, graduates from the Centre of Excellence in Art and Design, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology in Jamshoro (CEAD, MUET). Despite the fact that they are all recent graduates, the work of these artists exhibits strength and a maturity far beyond their years. Working mainly in two-dimensional mediums, the strength of the skill and impact contained within these new works is undeniable.
Shafiques work titled "Teeli Series" is inspired by his childhood. "I used to play with match sticks, I made toys with them by cutting, breaking and burning them according to the form I wanted," he explained. For many in the west, the match stick merely has one intended purpose but in the subcontinent it has a variety of uses. Children have been using match sticks and match boxes to create miniature houses, walkie talkies and even boats, while adults use it to repair punctured bicycle tires, clean their teeth and nails. He further stated that he found that these match sticks were closely linked to himself as he strongly associated his childhood years with them. "I feel that I can express myself effectively through these tiny, fragile and sensitive objects which have the capacity to ignite, glow, smolder and burn up themselves for others," he said. He elegantly uses the various aspects and used of the match sticks and their boxes in his prints and tries to explore their internal sparkle and articulate them beyond their usual function. Shafique has used the form of a matchstick with amazing variations through skilfully crafted aquatints, etchings and dry point. The work bears rich textural variations which speak volumes about the painstaking innovation behind these remarkable prints. Shafique graduated with a BFA in printmaking from CEAD, MUET in 2010.
Zeeshan Ahmed Memon was inspired by Lollywood in his pieces titled "Pakistani films and their influence on a society". Touching on the ever-relevant concern of the media's influence on society, Zeeshan uses oil on canvas to drive his point home. Performing art forms such as film have always played a key role in establishing the cultural and social face of society. What is today in cinema is to be reflected in the future of the society. "The theme of my work is about the influence of Lollywood on the masses. Not only the costumes, which are copied by the public but the gestures, actions and dialogues also influence the public. My endeavour has been to portray those characters of Pakistani films which have influence on the public. Take the example of a gun; if I was to give a gun to a person he would instantly fall into the posture of the heroes from Punjabi movies. The body language would change extremely quickly and that is just one example of how movies influence society," he explained. Zeeshan avoids painting the faces of his subjects so as to not target specific actors but in some of his paintings there is the illusion of a faint face which Zeeshan says is his own. "I want people too look at my paintings to make guesses on who they think the characters are and from which movie," he said. Zeeshan graduated with a B.A in Fine Arts (Major Painting) from CEAD, MUET in 2010.
Zubair Ahmed Bhutto's work titled "West on East" is about the influence of the west on the east. He uses colourful and vibrant backgrounds, which instantly jump out at the viewer and are inspired by traditional western paintings. He juxtaposes these backgrounds with symbolic animal life from the subcontinent. Zubair graduated with a BFA in Miniature Painting from CEAD, MUET in 2010.
Zahid Hussain Farooqui's work titled "Identity Crises" is meant to be a wakeup call for the youth. "The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is going through a major bout of identity crisis, causing a severe loss to our nation & country. This body of work is the observation of Pakistan addressed in my paintings and all of my work is in black & white, representing the ignorance," he explained. Zahid's large oil paintings are very well handled for their composition and realism. Using the theme of identity crisis, he depicts national symbols, crests, leaders of the past and bygone personalities, on crumpled paper. For emphasising ignorance in the society, albeit all canvases have been painted in grey tones, nevertheless, the size imparts a powerful impact on the beholder, compensating for the absence of colour. Zahid graduated with a BFA in Painting from CEAD, MUET in 2010. •