20 artists from the captivating Karachi and the historical Hyderabad collaborate at the renowned VM Art Gallery to showcase their works under the theme ‘The Highway’. The aim is to promote shared understanding between the people of the two close-by existing cities through art. These artists including renowned and the more recent of university graduates have installed art in the form of sculpture, painting, prints and installation to elaborate over the connection or the ‘highway’ between the ethos of the two cities.
Sana Burney, a graduate of University of Karachi and a faculty member at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture reflects upon the daily happening ritualistic habits of the people belonging from the two cities, one being the culture of consuming tea. Be it thoughtful dialogue or an exchange comprising mere words, having tea with peers and friends is a much loved practice in the country. With the green kettles or chenaks hanging from the ceiling, one can contextualize this wall installation titled ‘Conversations’ as the mode people use to talk while making their journey from one city to another over the long roads. In this regard, the highway which connects Karachi and Hyderabad holds a fascinating culture of small shops and dhabas where people stop by for the delicious food or a cup of the famous cinnamon tea. Zeeshan Memon, an artist hailing from Jamshoro who now works from Karachi believes in promoting the works of the Pakistani film industry from where seasoned actors have influenced the public with their styles and gestures in acting. His ‘Untitled’ is a monotone painting of a female figure dressed in what looks like the cultural dress of the country however this form is face less which allows the visitor to interpret various stories out of this form.
From the recent graduates of University of Karachi we have Hassan Raza with his installation titled ‘Dense City-1’, a work of fine skill in material handling. With the measurement ruler used as the key form, Hassan gives a sense of the populous Karachi which is so closely inhabited with people from all local ethnicities and architectural forms thus making it a truly fascinating city to observe. Agha Jandan reflects his thought in the ‘False Fermentation of Feeble Hope-II’ while Mujeeb Lakho expresses the importance and the sentiment behind the cultural crafts of Hyderabad and Jamshoro with his art work. In a similar fashion, Farooque Chandio draws the beautiful sketch of the local baskets which is so reminiscent of the Sindhi culture.
Other attention-grabbing and colorful works by Batool Zehra, Anam Shakil, Anas Abro, Meher Un Nisa, Mujeeb Lakho, Danish Ahmed and Manisha Jiani reflect upon the cultural understanding between the peoples of the two cities. The aim of the exhibition is to bring out the creative sides by fusion of the two cultural narratives in order to support the artists of the two regions. I believe such collaborations are a reflection upon the fact that the people of the country are making art together thus ensuing creative processes in peace. The show continues at the respective gallery in Karachi till January 12.
Photo Credits: FS Karachiwala