Tracing the Belongings

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Tracing the Belongings

Mere Dil Mere Musafir,"Tracing the Belongings" by Qinza Najm at Art Soch Contemporary, Lahore is a captivating exploration of identity and migration

Beyond Transcendent Expressions
Ornamental Expressions
Wayfares of the last night

Mere Dil Mere Musafir,”Tracing the Belongings” by Qinza Najm at Art Soch Contemporary, Lahore is a captivating exploration of identity and migration

Qinza Najm, an inter-disciplinary artist hailing from New York and Lahore, Pakistan, presents her thought-provoking solo exhibition, “Merey Dil Merry Musafir” (My Heart is my Companion Passenger) – Tracing the Belongings. Inspired by Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poignant poem, the exhibition delves deep into the artist’s personal quest for identity and roots while examining the complexities of migration.

Najm’s innovative approach blends traditional Pakistani craftsmanship with contemporary expressions, fostering a dialogue between the rich history of craft and the demands of modern life. Through a diverse range of artworks, including semi-circular paintings, a boat installation, and stainless steel suitcase sculptures, the exhibition captivates viewers with its evocative symbolism and nuanced storytelling.

At the core of the exhibition are Najm’s mesmerizing semi-circular paintings. Bold splashes of black and white paint intertwine, creating a visual representation of the emotional journey of living between two cultures. Urdu text, cultural objects, and symbols of pop art merge seamlessly, constructing narratives of political, cultural, and religious progress.

Truck art elements and traditional metal locks add depth and texture to Najm’s paintings, exploring themes of home, belonging, and the complexities of cultural adaptation. The large-scale paintings, “Hua Phir Se Hukum Sadar” and “Meray Dil Meray Musafir,” poignantly address mass migration caused by climate change, floods, and conflicts, echoing Najm’s personal connection to the recent devastating floods in Pakistan.

One of the exhibition’s standout pieces is the boat installation, “Chal Bulleya Authae Chaliya – The Good Immigrant.” The weathered boat, collected from the banks of the Ravi River, symbolizes the intertwined nature of past, present, and future. It serves as a vessel for Najm’s personal belongings and narratives, as well as recorded stories from individuals of diverse backgrounds, bridging the gap between collective experiences of migration.

The three golden stainless steel suitcase sculptures, titled “Kuch Ishq Kiya, Kuch Kaam Kiya I, II, III,” represent the sacrifices and emotional turmoil endured when leaving one’s homeland. The thorn-like holders evoke the pain inherent in such decisions, reminding viewers of the cost of pursuing a better future.

Another compelling artwork, “Baat Umar Bhar Ki Hai – I,” crafted from cut-up metal sheets, captures Najm’s personal transformation and her navigation between two worlds. The amorphous shape, reminiscent of an aerial view, is adorned with truck art-inspired traditional hanging wind chimes and an engraved metal bird symbol, symbolizing both futuristic and traditional elements.

“Merey Dil Merry Musafir” skillfully addresses contemporary issues of our evolving world, delving into the transitory nature of our existence, identity crises, and the search for belonging. Each artwork serves as a nest, anchoring the exhibition’s composition and weaving together narratives of the past and present. Through a careful blend of high art and craft, Najm tackles themes of ecology, politics, and the inherent yearning for connection.

In conclusion, “Merey Dil Merry Musafir: Tracing the Belongings” is an immersive and thought-provoking exhibition that invites viewers to explore their own experiences of migration, identity, and the longing for a sense of home. Qinza Najm’s masterful fusion of traditional and contemporary elements presents a compelling narrative, reminding us of the delicate balance between preserving our heritage and embracing the evolving world around us.

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