A show titled ‘Nostalgia’ took place at Artciti Gallery on the 14th of November, 2019. A collaboration between the gallery and overseas Pakistani artists living in the UAE, this show intended to pay homage to Pakistan and explore its culture and heritage through the memory and gaze of the exhibiting artists.
One of the exhibiting artists is Bushra Malik who is a self-taught artist. Being a painter she has exhibited in several private exhibitions, in Sharjah and in World Art Dubai. According to Malik, she has always wanted to explore the relationship between spirituality and intellect hence, her work tries to capture the same connection of the human spirit with herself through the medium of painting.
The second artist who has displayed her work in this particular exhibition is Humaira Hussain who divides her time between London and Dubai. Having had Degrees from Punjab University and University or Ireland, she is the Fine Arts Director for Forever Rose London and has exhibited in UK, Ireland, Paris, Pakistan, UAE and Lebanon. Hussain’s visuals comprise of avian and floral imagery through which she aims to satiate herself and the viewers. By creating sensual compositions and using a vibrant color palette, she intends to strengthen her relationship to art and nature.
Kiran Saleem Shah is another artist whose work was a part of this exhibition. She takes inspiration from the rural life of Pakistan as she feels the life on the streets is the true representation of a place’s culture. Having achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, she has numerous shows to her portfolio and her most recent show was in Carrousel du Louvre, Paris. On the other hand, Masooma Rizvi is another self-taught artist who left a banking career over art. Her work revolves around Sufism and uses calligraphy as a source of expression. By working with the concept of spirituality, the artist aims to find herself through the process of painting and connect to the viewer.
Shazia Jaffrey is an artist, writer and curator whose work was also a part of this display, perhaps having the most eye-catching visuals. Her work not only depended upon the theme of Sufism and self-discovery but it also shed light upon women empowerment. By making hyper realistic self-portraits, the artist possibly mirrored her own persona with women all across the world. On the other hand, Sanaa Merchant was another self-taught artist who made abstract calligraphic forms supported by heavy layers of paint and strokes.
Lastly Tania Nasir, who has a Degree in Interior Design, made visuals which focused on Islamic patterns which were used earlier to decorate the Quran and other holy scriptures. Nasir not only paid homage to Islamic art but also stressed upon the need to revive Persian and Mughal art since it is a skill that formed the roots of South Asian art, creating an individual identity of Muslims all across the world.
Looking back at all the visuals on display, the artists not only paid tribute to Islamic art and Pakistan but they also reflect upon the current state of art in which artists are so drawn towards making work which will be accepted by global standards and forget their original identities and roots. This body of work will hopefully encourage emerging artists to reflect upon this concept and revive traditional art and design, in order to stress upon the need of having a self-identity.