Unraveling the Tamasha

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Unraveling the Tamasha

Most of us enjoy art because of the engaging personality present in the work; as viewers we love understanding different journeys reflected and it is

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Most of us enjoy art because of the engaging personality present in the work; as viewers we love understanding different journeys reflected and it is always exciting to discover pieces of the artist’s history in their process. With Naveed Sadiq’s most recent display of work at Koel Gallery, the coexistence of personal individuality and artistic liberties plays along very well.

With a familiar sepia, tea and coffee colour palette, there is a sense of aridity and barren earth like feel to some of his miniatures. The linear drawings and outlines of crevices in the land not only echo the finesse of miniature skill but speak about geography, maps and as the artist ascertains, “paths”. The art works are on a relatively large scale which work in favour of the theme of Naveed Sadiq’s collection titled ‘Tamasha Merey Aagey’. Traditional miniature has always been associated with it’s narrative quality which were used to depict royal commissioned scenarios but the contemporary artist today uses this illustrative quality of miniature to speak about different conflicts and issues as well. For ‘Tamasha Merey Aagey’, the story weaves around perhaps personal growth, struggles and a “multitude of directions”. The incomplete look the artist gives his pieces emphasize the importance laid upon process work and image making which coincides with the aspect of journeys and pathways.

Elephants and camels entangled on seemingly vast deserted lands, Mughal figures travelling in dusty and hazy conditions and chappals put aside on the sand remind the viewer of the steamy landscape in Southern Punjab and Interior Sindh. There is a trickle of water present in a bright and soothing blue which again could imply a survival element or the harsh conditions with which people endure in this particular landscape.

This collection uses interesting visuals such as marbled wasli which resembles a bio-cellular diagram and drafting lines such as crosses and angled lines.  The artist uses these unpredictable details which juxtapose against the natural and organic flow of landscape – the target signs and dart board – bring a sense of severity and construction to the loose tea stain waslis. It is assumptious to pull together an entire story from this collection but there are overt indications of the artist’s life with biblical images and compositions which instigate his ‘beliefs, origins and haunting childhood’ as written in his statement. Some of the pieces feature script – kahoon tou kis se kahoon, translating as: if I should tell someone who should I tell it to and shab e gham; evening of sorrow – inscribing a tale of personal struggles and searching for self-identity. Hence there is an overwhelming theme of storytelling between the artist and his viewers. Sadiq also uses himself in the form of a dark winged messenger which appears to be a sort of anti-thesis to the cherubs of the renaissance. Clinging on to a dart board with hints of crimson leaking through, these paintings are powerful and strong but the tranquility and sleekness of the miniature painting style demurs these compositions. The dark ponytail and unnatural twisted face of the silhouette combined with compositions of animals in struggle and faded Mughal figures present stories of antagonism and diverted personalities. Similarly we see the artist in an array of situations; standing with his head in a cloud of grey fog sheepishly holding a dandelion behind his back, armed with a bow and arrow aiming at his own reflection, tinkling with a raerah (a possible childhood toy). These lively yet tepid drawings provide the viewer with little snippets of his own life.

It is enjoyable to see personal art work which isn’t over philosophized. In ‘Tamasha Merey Aagey’ there are a lot of details in the art work from drafting lines to little forgotten trinklets, but the elements work together rather than cluster the wasli. This collection offers something different as compared to contemporary satirical miniatures – the darkness and mundane realities present in Naveed Sadiq’s work are made such that viewers will extrapolate their own perceptions yet the underlying personality of the artist is strong and infused with the array of images. ♦

‘Tamasha merey aagey’ was on at Koel Gallery, Karachi, from 5 to 15 August 2014.

Veera Rustomji is a Fine Art student at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. She has been a freelance writer for the past two years and enjoys conducting research within the field of art

 

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