Expressions A mesmerising painting exhibition

When I first received an invite to an art exhibition, I have to admit I was not very excited. I am not an art enthusiast in the least, nor am I well-acquainted with art galleries, but I thought to myself that this may be an interesting way to explore and learn. On a chilly Saturday evening, I check into Funparay, an art gallery located in Karachi’s opulent DHA. The gallery owner, Nausheen Tariq, who inaugurated the gallery couple of months ago, prefers to call it an “artsy studio” instead of an art gallery. “I don’t call Funparay an art gallery, but I like to call it a studio because there are multiple things available here. From art exhibitions to book launches to mehfil-e-ghazal,” says Tariq.

As I walked around Funparay, I was fascinated by what I saw. I was taken aback by how a small, cosy space could incorporate so much character. It housed a number of artistic products to augment the beauty of a home. The studio presented a beautiful collection of paintings by artists from all over Pakistan. It also has intricate hand-painted pieces of furniture and appeared to be a perfect venue for book lovers who can enjoy spending a delightful time browsing through a wonderful collection of books on art and poetry. Upon asking the idea behind the establishment of such a collective space, Tariq says, “Amidst the urban chaos, the people of Karachi would find Funparay to be a very homey, cosy space.”


As I walked around the room, my eyes were fixated on a painting by Ayesha Ahmed, an artist who works in multiple mediums and believes in conveying a message of love and peace through her art. In her painting, Ahmed displayed a girl dancing in front of the moon, expressing her desire to reach the moon. Hence comes the name “Desire.” “We all have certain desires and wishes in life, certain things we want to achieve. I tried to exhibit that idea in this collection,” says Ahmed sharing the inspiration behind her alluring artwork.

The tree of life

When you think of a painting, what springs to mind? Acrylics? Oil? Chances are you don’t consider coffee. Tariq Akhlaq uses coffee to create works of art which is so unconventional and impressive. Akhlaq wanted to create his own separate medium, so one fine day while sipping a hot cup of coffee he accidently dropped it on his pencil art. At first he was furious, but then he noticed a very distinct and beautiful effect which gave him the idea to explore the medium of Coffee Art. With his unique Coffee Art, Akhlaq reflected the headstrong, tribal Afro-women whom he termed as the “faceless, nameless heroes.” In his artwork, he hails those women as the nurturers and providers who just like the baobab tree (the tree of life) provide with food, water and shelter to their clans.

Surah Ikhlas

Fasihuddin Qureshi, who mostly deals in non-figurative paintings, left me astounded with his square Kufic calligraphy on canvas. His style was not concerned with legibility. It felt very much like solving a puzzle, giving it particular appeal for problem-solvers.


Erum Adnan, who with the help of a palette knife creates her trademark of boxes and lines, got me contemplating over her artistry. Upon looking closely, I could only see colours and no image. From a distance, the image became more lucid. It is fascinating to see how faith has inspired artists for centuries. Adnan exhibited faith in her painting through an illustration of mosques. “Through my paintings, I want to show that faith; be it any faith, is good. It helps us find peace and tranquility,” said Adnan regarding her artwork.


Nishat Gohreen, who specialises in the theme of traditional and folk art, portrayed a staggering image of the dancing girls. Gohreen’s “Taal” will definitely make you dance on its own tunes. Detail and sophistication are two words that best describe her work. Rich textures, beautiful colours and timeless subject matter are what made the painting so eye-pleasing.

Freedom of speech

Due to their expressive nature and the possibility of multiple interpretations, works of art allow for conversation from a variety of points of view, experiences and different ways of learning. Contemporary artists often address social, religious, political and cultural issues, providing a framework for exploring challenging and difficult subjects. Muneer Shah is an expert in conceptual sculpture. Through his sculpture “Freedom of Speech,” he tried to unveil the social issue of how our lips are sealed due to certain societal pressures.