After several group shows and a solo show at Nairang Gallery in Lahore, another solo show by artist Amira Farooq opened at Studio Seven Gallery in Karachi on 29th March, 2019.
Titled ‘Gaia’s Dream’, Farooq cites the Greek goddess Gaia, who is specifically also known as the ‘divine personification of the Earth and the matriarch of all things in existence ’. The use of Greek goddess Gaia not only aims to represent the Earth and creation, but also to symbolize feminine significance as part of the universe in general. Also more commonly known as Mother Nature (or the Earth-Mother), this female personification of nature is often used in Greek mythology to represent nature in a way that depicts aspects of nurture and protection, as that of a care-giver that breeds and nourishes life.
Farooq’s choice of colour palette specifically uses organic-looking hues most commonly found in nature. An array of reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues creates a carefully cartographic image of natural landscapees. Intricate pattern making creates a sense of depth, also holding similarities with aerial views of landscapes, representing trees, fields and rivers through abstract shapes. The image of an eye is also seen repeated in several pieces, creating a human-like embodiment of nature in a feminine form. The eye looks out at the onlooker in a piercing manner, looking almost as though asking for help.
The current climatic state of the planet is called to attention in Farooq’s work, highlighting ‘Mother Nature’ as being in turmoil. It stands to relevance, relating to rising temperatures, disruption of the ecosystem and overpopulation of the planet. Amidst the abstract shapes, Farooq also uses faceless silhouettes of a female figure, some in the forefront, and some more hidden.
Farooq’s psychedelic landscapes also act as portraits, not only creating dreamlike visuals, but also accessing the subject in a physical form. It remains intangible yet somehow gets personified in a humanistic manner. She uses the goddess Gaia to amplify the existing ecological crises and climate change, while also emphasizing the existence of feminine energy in all facets of nature. She symbolizes the idea of ‘nurture’ and ‘care’ further with the use of embracing arms and hands, putting the subject in a protective force field.
What Farooq highlights here is how the planet creates a hospitable, comforting environment for all living species, acting as a selfless caregiver, while its human inhabitants continue to exploit and burn out all the planet has to offer. Farooq intimates how the planet thus acts like a female caregiver, a mother, caring selflessly without promises of reward in return and continuing to provide unconditional love regardless. Like in Greek mythology, Gaia is a representation of life and creation itself. All living things on Earth, be it flora, fauna or humanity, neither could exist without the presence of the feminine.
‘Gaia’s Dream’ continues at Studio Seven Gallery till April 5, 2019.
 “Gaia in Greek Mythology: Stories & Facts”, https://study.com/academy/lesson/gaia-in-greek-mythology-stories-facts.html