Treasures Of Tomorrow

  • 18 Nov - 24 Nov, 2017
  • Marjorie Husain
  • Art

The Karachi Biennale was a very successful event, with artists from all provinces of Pakistan, as well as around the world joining in. From the U.S. came the work of Shahzia Sikander, and from France the renowned ceramist Masood Kohari met up with friends and admirers, responsible for the amazing programme.

One’s gratitude goes to Niilofur Farrukh, Amin Gulgee and a long list of people, whose teams have worked tirelessly coordinating the wonderful series of events.

Settling back into the routine of visiting art galleries, one was delighted to view the exhibition of artworks, shown at the Karachi Arts Council. It was organised in two sections, vision 01 – with works of well-known and distinguished artists – and vision 02, featuring works of young and up-and-coming artists who chose to show their work. Viewing the display was a pleasure; there was not a single bad painting in the entire collection of 122 paintings on show.

Viewing vision 01 (of senior artists) it was a pleasure to note the work of artists such as watercolourist Abdul Hayee and Aftab Zafar, who had started the first artist’s association in Karachi. These are respected artists of an earlier generation who made such a great contribution to art in the country and their work still shines through.

The women pioneers of the country, sculptor Rabia Zuberi who opened the first art school in Karachi, the Karachi School of Art.

Watercolour abstractionist Qudsia Nisar, a former principal of the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts (CIAC), who travelled extensively with her work, and former principal of the CIAC Nahid Raza, showed two of her recent paintings. She was the first woman to make the subject of her work ‘women’s rights’, and is the recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance in 2007.

Mashkoor Raza’s latest work was a beautiful form with his exciting way of using the medium. One hopes that Raza will follow up with a solo show on the same lines.

The paintings of Munir Shah, who is currently teaching at CIAC, were amazing. He had painted two portraits of Quaid-e-Azam, using various media created large paintings of what resembled old photographs. These were outstanding artworks, and I stood before them for a considerable time marvelling at the genius of the artist, while Shah shared with me the list of paints and colours he had used to create his effects – this was museum work indeed.

Ubaid Syed, who spent several years abroad, had painted beautiful abstract artworks, while the ‘two women’ contributed by Rind, were a delight to behold.

The calligraphy on display by Fareed Durrani, and a new and delightful style by the versatile artist Omar Farid, earned kudos from the audience.

One must congratulate Fasih Qureshi who showed his latest contemporary work and curated the excellent show.

Tariq Javed, painter and ceramist contributed to the show, with his artist son Seemab Tariq who also showed an abstract composition.

Akram Spaul’s ‘still life’ was a beautiful piece, and there were untitled paintings on display by Shahid Rassam, currently principal of the CIAC.

Vision 02, the young artist’s work was also carefully selected by the curator, and there were several outstanding pieces that give promise to the future.

Ashfaq Ali’s watercolour painting titled End of Journey was a thoughtful, touching visual of an old bus, perhaps once taking children to school and waited upon, now dumped in a grassy patch to disintegrate – a fable of life itself.

There were so many fine artworks displayed and available at very reasonable prices – treasures of tomorrow.

One discovered landscapes, village life, women in colourful traditional costumes, flowers, and scenes of old Karachi.

Faiza Khalid’s ‘pigeons around a door’ was a charming piece, and Saleem Akhtar’s watercolour paintings of ships at sea were admirable.

Shamim Fatima painted a strong portrait of iconic Sattar Edhi, a touching tribute; while cacti in watercolour, by Ozma Noor, was beautifully rendered.

From KSA came three etchings by Mediha Noman, ‘yellow plate’ ‘blue plate’ and ‘red plate’, excellent examples of print-making.

What was also eye-catching was the collage of Sidratul Muntaha. Asma Asim’s still life and Tariq Tonki’s Colour Face also made their presence felt.

The exhibition altogether created a tribute to the work underway in the city and the Karachi Arts Council.

I saw the exhibition twice and wished it would remain longer. Thus allowing other art enthusiasts to have an idea of what is happening in Karachi, and how much talent one has to be proud of. •