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Qaafla

A show titled “Qaafla” took place at Studio Seven gallery on the 29th of January, 2019 which was an exhibition of the works of over thirteen artists. Curated by Akram Dost Baloch, this particular show was held to honor the practice of these particular creatives who had joined the caravan of Fine Artists hailing from Balochistan hence, this show is called “Qaafla”.

 

According to Dost Baloch, this particular group initially comprised of only four artists including the curator himself; the four also being the pioneers of the Fine Arts department at the University of Balochistan, founded in 1984. This show comprises of visuals by emerging and established artists who are not only addressing their own individual concerns but there is also an interesting variety in the play with scale, colour palette and medium.

 

Baloch’s work consisted of two paintings titled Individual Feelings. This body of work had visuals which portray figures of two women who are modestly cloaked, possibly women of the province where the artist hails from. Ethnic textures are depicted in the background while murky textures are shown to be a part of the draperies, creating a sense of mystery within the visuals, possibly a reflection upon the nature of women taking into consideration that they are cloaked and do not reveal much about their physicality. Another interesting factor of his visuals are the large facial features of these women, which only adds further to the mystery as the artist has possibly left the visuals to the viewer’s individual perception.

 

Kaleem Khan’s work comprised of landscape imagery which he had painted on pieces of crafted wood. The pieces consist of erect shapes which were not just plain landscape images but more towards the imagery of the life in the area where he was born. However, his pieces seem to be resembling that of a bodily form, especially that of the male; moreover, it is interesting how the artist has tried to depict the life of the rural areas by merging two completely different mediums together into a an abstract visual.

 

Umbreen Hussain’s art piece comprised of a woven fabric piece in which the figure of a woman is depicted. According to her, women are continuously held under restrictions by the society in our country and those restrictions could be religious or customary. Despite changing times, women are still held under close observation and hence, she sheds light upon the arts and craft culture in Balochistan where women are involved in stitching and needlework for livelihood.[1]

 

Jamil Baloch’s takes inspiration from nature and his surroundings and makes work based on his observations of various textures and patterns. He displayed two visuals which either seemed like the study of a certain texture or possibly a building with windows. One of them was a zoomed out visual while the other was zoomed out. By studying the visuals, it seems as if the artist is trying to make his own set of observations, as to how he looks at things in this world taking into consideration the indistinct imagery that has been depicted.

 

Mir Dostak’s visual comprised of an X-ray of the human body, which he created with the technique of miniature. Titled 27th October, this work was possibly made to mourn the Black Day in Kashmir when India forcefully occupied Kashmir. According to his statement, this work not only opposed racial intolerance but it was also commenting on what people want to see and what they see as obvious[2]; possibly a reflection upon the state of affairs in the world where rulers only do as they see without consideration for the people who suffer under their wrath.

 

There were many other works by artists on display at this show but to discuss a few, these artists have not only creatively addressed their concerns but they have also shed light upon the political state of affairs in our country where people are still under constant surveillance. These artists will hopefully encourage more people from the province of Balochistan and people from other tribal areas to step into the creative world and be fearless of social pressures.

 

 

[1] Hussain Umbreen, artistic statement published in the catalogue titled Qaafla, Studio Seven gallery, Karachi, 2019.

[2] Dostak Mir, artistic statement published in the catalogue titled Qaafla, Studio Seven gallery, Karachi, 2019.

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