‘Dichotomy’, opened on the 4th of December 2018 at Canvas gallery. The show brings together 3 young artists who’ve graduated from the National college of Art, Lahore. All three of the participating artists, namely Ahsan Javaid, Ehsan Memon and Hamid Ali Hanbhi showcase their individual practices yet collectively bring together a show that not only harmonizes well visually but also resonates with the audience.
What is interesting is the way show has been curated with no spatial demarcation between the artist’s works. It leads the viewer to walk through the exhibit and infer his or her own meanings and interpretations of each work individually and also form connections between all three artist’s works collectively. The show consists of paintings, drawings as well as sculpture and the artists utilize quite a few unique mediums as well. Such as dust and black Surma stone. While this article is structured in a way where each artist’s work is discussed individually in more detail, holistically one can see certain narratives emerge from the exhibit. One narrative in particular, which could be an ode to the title of the exhibition is that there appears to be a dichotomy of thought and representation. And of representation and interpretation. In other words, the artist’s works are not necessarily literal representations of their statements. In fact, they are in many cases, symbolic representations of the concepts they are based on. And this leads the viewer to often infer their own meanings from the work, if they are to detach themselves from the context behind it.
The artist Ahsan Javaid’s work consist of achromatic collages where the artist uses a combination of text and imagery taken from news, media and popular culture. With quirky and thought provoking titles, Javaid has constructed visuals that are engaging as well as endearing for the audience. His ‘cut and paste’ technique mirrors the way in which the human mind receives, interprets and perceives information. His work aims to question the very idea of representation. What is reality and actuality versus how its represented? How knowledge is conveyed and how it is perceived?
Eshan Memon’s work revolves around themes of nostalgia, memory and home. His work, symbolizes objects that represent movement and displacement. His work makes one think immediately of the journey from one home to the next. It makes one think about the arbitrary feeling of belonging to a space, the memories and emotions associated with. It makes one think about the very idea of home.
His sculptural installation shows what appear to be bundles. Perhaps this is a nod towards the process of moving. A particularly interesting technique employed by the artist is his use of dust as a medium in some of his drawings. According to the artist, dust carries a history and a past and hence one can draw connections to it. One may even relate dust to grain of soil or land that has experienced history and has aged with it.
Another artist in the show working with an achromatic palette is Hamid Ali Hanbhi. Working with Surma on paper, Hanbhi’s drawings framed inside a heart make a comment on the importance of having a good heart. The artist draws on the writings of Bulleh Shah to make work that comments on the current state of the human race and how insensitive humans have become. His work makes one think about the importance of empathy, sympathy, peace and love in the world today and the lack thereof.