From the cave drawings to the paintings on the canvas, human have been capturing emotions, stories, moments etc in the form of art from more than 35,000 years. These narratives were unfolded as the time passed and evolution in the art took place. But one subject that has not been only confined to the canvas or cave walls but linked to the subject that is found mutual in all human since forever.
Living in a fast paced life, it is hard to deal with social isolation and alienation. This subject has been discussed by many artists from the past including very famous Edward Hopper who strongly interpreted isolation as a dark haunting shadow that doesn’t go away even when it’s dark.
Moeen Faruqi, a Pakistani self-taught artist, recently opened a solo art exhibition, curated by Zeerakh Ahmed, titled ‘New Memories’ at the Koel Gallery. There was an array of paintings in different mediums with new forms and techniques which has been developed with a period of two years.
Faruqi is known for his smart techniques he uses to capture alienation in the society. A walk through the artworks was exciting and thoughtful. Faruqui sectioned his work in portraits, random moments and ongoing stories that was telling different stories of different individuals but the stories were the same.
One would observe that the titles of Faruqi’s paintings make it easier for a viewer to understand his interpretation. In his work a city, busy like Karachi, doesn’t help individuals to fight the terror of alienation. In his work titled ‘Jamshed Road’, Faruqi surrounded a male individual with other human and creatures like cat, dog and fish to depict the business of life yet the feeling of disaffection and loneliness between an individual and his surroundings exists. The artist sketched the same situation in his other artwork titled ‘Clifton Bridge’.
Faruqi’s work mainly revolved around the portraits. The artist brought familiar objects as well as faces in his work to make it possible for spectators to relate the stories their own lives. He left a space between his work and a viewer’s imagination to provoke them to see their own life in these paintings. Faruqi titled these lonely faces of individuals (males and females) as ‘Portraits’, ‘Faces’ and ‘Portraits in Monochrome’ in series.
The evocative hollow dark eyes, gazing through the canvas, discussed the insecurities and confusion of being aliens in a very own society. Either painted in monochromatic tones or dark colours, the artist brilliantly balanced the chaos and uncertainty in every individual’s expressions that could be well-observed.
The use of intense multiple colours against one-tone background depicted the buzzing urban life where human has failed to find peace, affection and happiness. The society keeps changing its colour rapidly and furiously that it has never been easy for an individual to keep up with the pace.
“I have painted my imaginations in strange colours and forms in a completely new way. There are oil paintings, acrylic and pen and ink drawings as well.”
The strength of Faruqi’s work was that it was thought-provoking rather than based on a specific representation of an idea, situation or class.
People often think that the remedy to isolation is gelling in the society. But Moeen Farruqi denied this through his work and brilliantly explained that the default state of humanity is isolation and the crowd around an individual is not a remedy of this default state which is never going to go away.