It is only a select, powerful few that exist behind our TV screens, completely in command of the information being broadcasted to the world. These individuals hold the power to mold the media significantly, and make it conform to various sociopolitical agendas. This skewed knowledge creates a false universe, an abstract utopia where individuals exist in a blissful state of oblivion, mindlessly accepting all that is fed to them. The sheer pace of communication further serves to push its viewers and listeners into a desensitized bubble. Artist Aamir Habib explores this artificial world, spurred by the method through which people do not appropriately respond to, nor receive, true unbiased information. In his solo show ‘Big Talk World’ at Canvas Gallery, he chooses to investigate the significantly vague political decisions made in terms of terrorism.
Through means of modern technology, everyone is exposed to a constant stream of information being relayed through multiple sources. Social media possesses the power to connect the world. Unfortunately, that same power creates undeniable dissonance, preventing people from receiving a single, clear narrative. Utopia means, as mentioned in the artist’s statement, a perfect land, as well as ‘no place’ or an imagined land.
Habib studied at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, graduating in 2003. Originally from Kohat, the artist has since participated in numerous national and international exhibitions, including the Abu Dhabi Art Fair in 2013 and the Dhaka Art Summit in 2016.
Habib’s sculptures integrate with digital media and modern technology, an apt medium to present his contemporary ideas. Prints of tranquil, natural landscapes are juxtaposed with stern, blueprint-like images and missiles, created with LED lights. The amalgamation of such opposing images may highlight the myopic state of mind we exist in; the landscapes are rendered in a dull, comfortable way while the harshly lit, almost angry missiles stand as blatant reminders that despite our desensitized conditions, there are critical decisions within our sociopolitical narrative that are being made without being properly revealed.
The lit up drawings are ruthlessly bare in their meaning, creating a severe contrast with the hollow, idyllic landscapes which perhaps symbolize the insincere utopian world we exist in. The bright, toy-like artworks may act as caricatures with their largely simplified missiles, mocking the fact that we rarely choose to question the information around us, hardly ever caring to delve deeper in order to discover the facts.
One of Habib’s sculptures, a life-size, fiber glass statue of Osama Bin Laden hovers over a coffin-like box with an LED screen inside, displaying the ocean. According to nearly all popular news channels, the body of the notorious terrorist was flung into the ocean shortly after being killed by the U.S Special Forces. Through the installation, Habib may be questioning the story sold to the public, forcing the mind to question other alternatives. The title ‘To Be Continued’ may suggest that this narrative is incomplete, that the entire tale has not been relayed to the public and perhaps never will.
Through his thought provoking artworks, Habib questions the reality constructed around us, instigating us to scratch the surface and question our surroundings so that we may attempt to seek the truth.