“Echoes of Polarity” is the title of the latest group-show of the online gallery MyArtWorld, showcased at the Café Soul in Islamabad until the 12th of
“Echoes of Polarity” is the title of the latest group-show of the online gallery MyArtWorld, showcased at the Café Soul in Islamabad until the 12th of February 2014.
Fourteen works are displayed, all especially made for this exhibition by Scheherzade Junejo, Dua Abbas Rizvi and Rajab Ali Sayed. The three young artists are tied to each other by friendship and academic experiences. In fact, together with the curator of the show, Zara Sajid, they all recently graduated from the National College of Arts in Lahore.
There is not much more in common between the artists, except the fact that they depict human figures in their works.
Scheherzade Junejo presents black and white works. Two large size oil-on-canvas and three pencil-on-paper that portray statuesque female bodies, wearing very few clothes, in athletic postures. The exemplary academic drawings of bodies, twisted in laborious and unstable poses, prove an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and are impressive exercises of style. Junejo teaches at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi and has been showing in galleries in Lahore and Karachi.
The Lahore-base visual artist and writer Dua Abbas Rizvi also had shows in the main Pakistani cities. Her works are portraits of women depicted in surrealistic, and almost ‘metaphysical’ settings. They might allude to Giorgio De Chirico’s works from the second decade of the 20th century, also through the quotes of classical elements, such as the head of a Hellenic sculpture or a Greek fret. The use of pastels on paper or canvas emphasizes this dreamlike atmosphere. In the press release the artist states: “The female protagonists of my paintings float through eras and ideas, pausing here and there to catch their breaths and steady themselves, but their hearts are forever dreaming”.
Last but not least, Rajab Ali Sayed is the youngest of the show. Born to a Filipino mother and a Pakistani father, he spent most of his childhood in Manila in the Philippines and came back to Pakistan to attend NCA on a merit scholarship. He graduated last year presenting an interdisciplinary thesis project in painting, video installation, and photography. For ‘Echoes of Polarity’, he produced four paintings, acrylic or oil on canvas, including one triptych, that convey the same spontaneity of photographic images. The young artist has a fresh take on reality reflected in his art works. His interest in different media is symptom of an ongoing research that will hopefully lead him to maximize their full potential in his production.
The trio is part of the eighty or so artists ‘virtually’ represented by the gallery through its website.
The ambitious project of creating a commercial online platform for Pakistani art was initiated by Zainab Omar who kindly received us at the gallery’s office in Islamabad, which also serves as exhibition space for small artworks. A former journalist and art collector, Zainab, who grew up in London and came back to Pakistan at the end of the 80s, says she become inspired and understood the potential of internet thanks to her son, who built his career as a musician through the web.
Zainab’s goal is to promote Pakistani art abroad, but not only for foreigners, as she clarifies, but also for compatriots that are living out of the country. In her opinion, the news diffused by the national and international media focuses exclusively on terroristic attacks and blasts, but rarely mentions the vibrant cultural scene and the many talented artists that Pakistan boasts. Moreover, when Pakistani emigrants come back home, they are here for weddings, funerals, to see family and friends, but they rarely visit galleries and museums. Hence through her work, Zainab hopes to raise awareness of the Pakistani art scene amongst fellow-Pakistanis.♦
MyArtWorld’s ‘Echoes of Polarity’ was displayed at Café Soul, Islamabad, from 30 Jan 12 Feb 2014.
Lavinia Filippi is an art critic, curator and writer based in Pakistan and Italy. She has worked for international art galleries and museums and is a writer and anchor for Italian National Television (RAI)