Relationships, memories, moral values, royalty, society and finally, life; the philosophies knitted behind the works of six artists at Studio Seven in Karachi range from abstract sentiment to materialized lifestyle. Titled Art K Dom (read kingdom) and curated by Ahsan Mohiuddin, the show brings together works in pen, paint, wood and mixed media. Curatorial assessment weaves the common theme of Royalty and Kingdom to bring the works under one umbrella where they are to shed a light on the magnificence of life and human experience. However, upon closer inspection, I find myself pondering over the art individually with its own specific nature and focus and with a fewer common themes – not more – rather than binding them under one roof.
Zeenat Rizvi, an alumna from University of Karachi has been exploring mixed media and acrylic for a while in her works. With every art piece she creates, I find her thought to explore her memories and experiences further deep as her works are beginning to depict the complexity of the human mind. Tangled Memories looks like a rider on a horse with complexly connected outlines. A labyrinth of lines and junctures, the work is complete, with its meaning and effect all managed together within one frame. Mind Kingdom is another piece pouring out context in a form of a brain. Mixed media arranged on hand made paper, the frame is delicate and almost feminine – that is if it were to be characterized in that way. Two older pieces of art from Zeenat also occupy the gallery walls, however the fresher art is far more receptive and engaging. I then move on to drawings by Alefiya Abbas Ali. New life and birth is royal in a sense for many and the artist brings forth this notion of life in the form of a child growing inside the womb, surrounded with abstract lines, in three canvases.
Sana Anwar explores human relationship in her Individuation, Tranquil 1 and 2 and Eclipse. Despite the interesting use of the canvases, the works dimly cast an impression. With shapes inspired from the sun eclipse, the moon, abstract forms and a rope hanging from the canvas to give it all a twist, the works come as more decorative than contextual. Kiran Saeed plays with detailed shapes and miniaturist motifs in her Magnificent Moment. The painting of a carpet reflects upon the grandiose moments, or perhaps a single moment which the artist has chosen to portray. The twist comes literal, with the corner of the red, oriental carpet folded. For me, I choose to take it as the oriental values which can be seemingly honorable in their intentions but fail in various social and personal contexts.
Other participating artists include Faiz Supro and Naveed Siddiqui. With art so diverse in an exhibition, it does not do justice by binding it under a theme which has less to do in common with the works of the six artists and more to do with the literal visualization as apparent in the pieces. Slightly mismatched when brought together, all of the works individually come with separate points of focus. A portrayal of the royal interiors with grandiloquent stairways and royal ponds painted on wood panels, oriental carpets defining the lives of the affluent, horse riders playing golf, fetus amidst tangled lines and more lines defining layers of the human brain can be much more than a royal Art Kingdom. To me, it reflects a plethora of ideas, a complex yet rich world of sentiments and socio-personal relationships that I have with the world and myself.
‘Art K Dom’ ran at Studio Seven, Karachi, in May 2017.