Unveiling the Unspoken: A Journey through 'Kuch Ankahi Si Baatain' In the ever-evolving world of art, the quest to tell stories through various
Unveiling the Unspoken: A Journey through ‘Kuch Ankahi Si Baatain’
In the ever-evolving world of art, the quest to tell stories through various creative mediums has been an enduring endeavor. FS Karachiwala (Faraz Siddiqui) has consistently provided a platform for artists to explore diverse themes and artistic expressions, making each of his curatorial project a distinct and enriching experience. His latest Lahore episode, “Aik Kahani Sau Afsanay” (One Story, a Hundred Tales), transcended traditional boundaries to weave narratives that resonate with the soul. With this thematic exploration, 13 selected artists were presented with an unbridled canvas, allowing them to convey their tales through a plethora of mediums and styles, culminating in a splendid tapestry of artistic diversity.
As one enters the Anna Molka Gallery situated in the Grand Hall of the College of Art and Design at Punjab University (Old Lahore), a sense of anticipation fills the air. The grandeur of the huge colonial architecture and the layout of the artworks had been thoughtfully planned to guide visitors through the various narratives, creating an engaging and fluid experience. Aik Kahani Sau Afsanay was a testament to the power of storytelling, transcending the boundaries of language, culture, and medium. Moreover, one of the most compelling aspects of this chapter, “Kuch Ankahi Si Baatain” was the diversity of artistic expression on display.
One particularly striking exhibit was a series of paintings by Ahmed Ali Manghanar. The artist’s work is a compelling exploration of the intersection between film archives and historical imagery. The use of an iconic image, Andy Warhol style, from 1960 featuring actor Rangila as the focal point of the work is a nod to the early days of photography and film. The artist skillfully extracts values and shades from the image, revealing various facets of the actor’s personality, which are preserved in the final piece.
Amina Cheema’s handbound Red Book proves to be a thought-provoking exploration of the role of objects in Mughal art, particularly in the context of representing thoughts, ideas, or concepts. In a tradition dominated by figure representation, the artist takes a unique approach by emphasizing the significance of objects in conveying ideas related to sovereignty and spirituality. By extracting objects from two iconic 17th-century painted images, the artist prompts viewers to consider the integrity and capacity of these objects. She challenges us to look beyond the figures and delve into the symbolic power of these objects, shedding new light on the intricate layers of meaning in Mughal art.
Faiza Taufique’s work was a compelling call to empower women and challenge the unsafe spaces they often face. She emphasizes the need to break free from long-standing stereotypes and actively fight against societal complicity in these issues, especially in today’s worsening climate.
Hafsa Jamshed Sufi’s work, centered on ceramic tiles, offers a thought-provoking exploration of power dynamics spanning traditional and contemporary realms. The core theme of the art revolves around the intricacies of politics and how it has evolved through various stages in history, from kingdoms and dynasties to modern-day nations and societies.
Maham Siddique’s oil painted canvases presented a compelling exploration of the relationship between headlines, narratives, and the essence of truth in news reporting. Drawing an analogy between a newspaper headline and the narrative it encapsulates, the artist highlights the concept that the caption serves as the core reality, while the rest of the details can often be exaggerated or embellished.
Mehrin Haseeb’s paintings beautifully captured the emotional journey of Sassui as she navigated the unforgiving landscape in her quest to reunite with her Baluch love, Punhu. The paintings vividly depict the essence of the story, which is presented as a dialogue between Sassui and the harsh elements of nature. The rugged textures and earthy tones in the paintings effectively convey the harshness of the landscape and the challenges Sassui faces.
With meticulous attention to detail, Sana Nezam’s art aimed to convey the enduring beauty of nature to viewers. The central theme of the interaction between humans and nature serves as a powerful muse for the artist, who seeks to provide a poetic interpretation of this relationship.
Sanaa Umar’s paintings delves into the intricate relationship between individuals and the spaces they inhabit, emphasizing the unique connections people forge with their immediate surroundings. The focal point being the blue female figures, almost resembling Krishna (Hindu god for love, passion and protection), the artwork skillfully translates this bond into visually balanced narratives, highlighting the significance and personality inherent in each image.
Sarah Mir’s artwork were a striking exploration of family dynamics and religio-cultural constraints, rendered through a unique aesthetic language. Mir skillfully navigates the intersection of time and nostalgia, where family photographs, which typically preserve cherished memories, clash with the playful and contemporary tone of the artwork.
Syeda Sanober’s work provides a captivating exploration of the human eye as a profound element of our existence and a window into the complexity of our inner worlds. Through their art practice, attention to detail and ongoing observations, the artist conveys the deep vulnerability that each individual carries within their eyes.
Ufaq Altaf’s paintings provided a thought-provoking departure from the traditional Mughal miniature paintings that typically celebrate beauty and ornamentation. Instead, she embraces the duality inherent in our world, recognizing that life is composed of contrasting elements—beauty and ugliness, good and evil, day and night, peace and violence, love and hate. Her art masterfully blurs the lines between reality and fabrication, inviting viewers to contemplate the complex interplay of choices that shape our existence.
Zobiya Yaqoob’s intricate panels plunge into the concept of “matter is spiritual” influenced by centuries-old customs and traditions. By integrating Japanese traditions like wabi-sabi and kintsugi with Islamic sacred geometry, the artist creates a fusion that represents both the material and spiritual realms. Their intricate use of patterns like the seed of life, trinity, and chahar bagh symbolizes purity and solace. In essence, the artwork explores the coexistence of the material and spiritual in a visually captivating manner.
Lastly, Zoya Abbas seemed deeply influenced by her maternal grandmother’s memories of Meerut, India, which shaped her early understanding of “home.” Through storytelling and memory, she invites viewers to explore the connections between personal and collective imaginations of home and identity. Her art is an intimate journey into the power of memory and its influence on our sense of place and self.
As visitors navigate the exhibition, it becomes evident that the artists have not only drawn inspiration from personal experiences but also from societal issues and historical events. The diversity of narratives encompassed within “Kuch Ankahi Si Baatain” ranges from the deeply personal to the universally significant, creating a rich tapestry of human stories.
“Kuch Ankahi Si Baatain” is a captivating journey through the world of untold stories. The exhibition’s commitment to diversity, both in terms of artistic expression and narrative content, is commendable. It reminds us that storytelling is a fundamental aspect of the human experience, transcending boundaries and connecting us all. It is a testament to the curators’ vision that the exhibition successfully encouraged viewers to become active participants in the storytelling process.