KARACHI: The fusion of art and Urdu poetry concealing strong messages behind it, came alive on canvas through Shahid Rassam’s powerful and artful strokes in his latest exhibit redefining the word ‘kafir’, here on Tuesday evening.
The acclaimed Pakistani artist’s exhibit opened at Karachi’s Sannat Art Gallery, attracting a hefty number of art enthusiasts, critics and prominent dignitaries, who took in the striking spirit of reinventing the term ‘kafir’ [apostate], as an act of resistance that stands as his own take at revolutionizing the world and identifying the damages in society.
Talking to The News, Rassam opened up about the masterpieces on display and what they define, saying: “Ghalib is the consistent source of inspiration behind a lot of the series of my paintings. I find new dimensions in his poetry every time."
He went on to say: “You will find male, female, transgender bodies in my work because injustice has no gender. Kafir is someone who is defiant towards the system, individuals, injustice or anything. And since the rapid decline of society is so appalling, I’ve tried to challenge those traditions of society through this series. Previously there had been a lot of acceptance and tolerance in society, people were generally very open-minded. So this wave of intolerance and extremism and narrow-mindedness that has been transplanted in our society, all of this is being challenged through these paintings.”
Treading ahead, the artist went on to explain one of the more striking parts of the display showcasing wall clocks: “These are called ‘Kaafir Ghariyan’, these stand as a symbol of time being defiant. The hands of all these clocks you will find, are broken. Except for that seconds' hand which is a symbol of revolution.”
One of the city’s most prominent art critic, Marjorie Husain expressed her reverence of the masterpieces around her, saying: “It’s very astonishing work. The details are just so immaculate. And the deep meaning that he has given to his work, it needs a lot of going into it requires a lot of thought to go into it.”
Moreover, acclaimed Pakistani actor Munawar Saeed also appeared swayed by the blend of art and poetry saying: “Shahid Rassam has been brilliant since the start. And this work in front of us has been executed through utmost hard work and brilliance. Understanding the brilliance of these masterpieces is a challenge and when you understand, then that is when you completely relish over the beauty of the art and the themes it represents.”
On the other hand, media bigwig Athar Waqar Azeem also commented saying: “I was wondering how many people would be actually able to comprehend the idea behind the paintings. That is when Shahid told me that I didn’t paint this for everyone. This is only for those people who are able to comprehend and interpret the layers of messages concealed behind the basic surface of the painting. After a very long time I’ve seen an exhibition in Karachi that made me realize that yes, the art streak in Karachi is still alive.”
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