It is said that an artist can express stories in a million unique ways. Quddus Mirza, an ace artist, and critic, recently curated a show inviting 9 artists under the umbrella to explicate, explore and experiment with the theme of water.
When you first enter, eyes instantly fall upon an installation fixed right in the centre of the gallery’s wall. This peculiar installation seemed like some magical board which showcased the spiritual words, ‘Your God Morphed’. Rabeeha Adnan is drawing attention to a crucial issue surfacing in the society but has become so relatable that one seldom pays heed to it; the issue of following bogus religious institutes and people who claim to be the stakeholders of religion. Divided into many sectors, these people have made religion into a mockery where anything could be said, believed, and followed blindly. Rabeeha brilliantly and clearly put her thoughts into words. She expressed her apprehension for these critical issues which have spread be wilderness in the society leading the upcoming generation towards perplexity which eventually leads to nowhere, but a dead end. She bravely hinted at how these imposters could have thousands of reasons borrowed from multiple religious’ institutions to fit their reasoning.
Placed right next to Rabeeha’s installation was a solid concrete wall of Sadqain. Expecting his piece to be nostalgic was not so certain through the installation although the ‘Stain’ series does have a connection with reminiscence. In its pure concrete form, the wall has a drilled hole in it from where water is seen dripping. This is a mundane moment captured in this installation by the artist. The artist juxtaposed the theme of the show and his ideology brought a wonderful crux of the narrative that the curator tried to weave.
Hamid Ali Hanbhi took inspiration from childhood memories of his mother applying kohl in her eyes thus he chose to work with kohl in his medium. When we talk about kohl containers, the mind starts wondering about the old times where these vintage containers were adding beauty to not only the eyes but our grandma’s dressing. His imageries stressed upon the reminiscences of his home town therefore the visuals are blurred to implicate the idea of memory. The feelings of pity or melancholy are aroused by just looking at the work. One could feel the quietness and misery through the images that Hamid deliberately induced. It provided his uneasy mind cluttered with memories a relief through the strong expression of emotions. As powerful as water, Kohl can easily be washed away from any surface as it can from the eyes when one is in grief and pity and just like how his hometown was flooded which he reconstructed with kohl in his drawings. The environment formed in the images is made pertinent to the audience.
Maria Jamali closely observes the ordinary and abandoned elements and their mechanism and puts them into the frame of her art to bring forward the value of these mundane objects. ‘A drop’ is a 4-minute video installation in which the artist is showing a drop of water dripping from a tap. When humans are surrounded by instant things from coffee to travel, this 4-minute-long video exasperates the mind. Some of the onlookers could not keep themselves to stand in front of the screen because it was challenging to wait for the drop to finally fall whereas if one focuses on the process, this wait detaches from the mayhem and indistinct chattering surrounding the space. Hope is what keeps us going although it doesn’t come alone because it requires patience which creates an uneasy disruption among us.
Anusha Khalid plays a trick with spectators’ minds with her artwork. With a bird’s eye view, you could see a child playing with a red colour powder or maybe a child surrounded with blood at the seashore. Her video installation is not sharing merely one narrative but it is open to interpretation to the audience which is not confined but free. She believes that humans share the subconscious which brings humans to one ground and connects everyone through stories, desires, and dreams.
Huria Khan seemed to be writing on a paper in a video installation which extends to 20 minutes. She presented monochromatic drawings as well. She can be seen observing writing on paper and later making a boat of the same paper and let it float on the water. Many of the words could be seen wiping away and the ink spreading in the water. It showed how much valuable words could hold and at the same time, it could be of no worth as it gets diluted in the water like they never had any meaning.
Sehrish Mustafa captured multiple corporal images in her work. One could not guesstimate the shots; either they are an endoscopy of a womb or a body trying to escape from the water. One could only comprehend when it reaches the final images of the human body wearing a transparent white cloth. The images raise questions of physical existence and its attachment with the psychological and physical spaces. A human body is the house of desires and wishes – holy or worldly – it’s the body that decides which direction to choose.
The gypsum composite titled ‘The Comfortable Rut’ is an extension of Sara Mehmood’s idea which is rationally putting a question forth to contemplate her work which is simple yet complex. Studying the paused moments gives her work the ground to take the narrative further and question the chaos and monotony in the moments and society in general.
Kiran Saleem emphasises the significance of water and climate change through a shower installed in the middle of the gallery. It seemed whimsical at first nonetheless but the concept was way too strong. Thinking of being in the shower at a public place is extremely awkward but the artist wants one to spare a moment and give it a thought as to how much water would one use while taking a shower. If it embarrasses you then you have successfully decoded the message that Kiran is trying to send through this quiet and still installation. The constant noise of the water is somehow satisfying to the ears although the wastage of water is affecting the whole globe substantially.
The huge yet transitory ice installation of Maryam Jameel was attention-grabbing for the viewers. Her work revolves around bringing meaningful transformation to the objects and rewriting the context. The show offered a myriad of mediums with each artist approaching the theme brilliantly appealing to human consciousness.