Art is a powerful thing. From the moment that humankind could, we started thinking creatively. Explaining and depicting the world around us. Most of us know the feeling of being moved by a work of art, whether it is a song, a play, a poem, a novel, or a painting. We are transported to a new place. We become aware of a feeling that may not be unfamiliar to us but which we did not actively focus on before. This transformative experience is what art is constantly seeking. Revolving around this theme, the recent exhibition ‘Ecologies of Displacement’ curated by Sana Bilgrami held at Koel Gallery, one of the country’s most prestigious art galleries, was nothing less than a tasteful indulgence. A lot of resistance was required on one’s part to avoid being swamped by the aesthetics of the two-story building and the artworks that played on an immersive disposition to adore its spaces. It was a collaborative effort showcasing the works of two artists focusing on two geographically different landscapes; in their quest for connection. This week You! takes a look the recently held exhibition at Koel Gallery showcasing artworks displayed by two distinct artists…
Have you ever visited your old childhood home or the nooks where you spent your junior years? Nostalgia is often bittersweet; while it may leave you craving for a time long gone, it tends to make you appreciate the present moment. The emotions you experience help you look at life more profoundly. And art is one of the few channels that extends you the liberty to share your nostalgia with the world. While being posited in a given space and time in the past, ‘Nostalgic Art’ is not bound to them. It relies on the viewer’s individual experiences to become relatable and invoke an emotional response. A fairly common occurrence but so important to the human experience, nostalgia has the power to transport us to experiences long forgotten.
Michele Marcoux downloaded photographs of her childhood home in Ohio, USA, and took to nostalgia and memories to construct a series of intriguing artworks. Michele is a visual artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland who grew up in the multi-cultural industrial city of Cleveland, Ohio, on the Great Lakes in USA. She has worked with painting, drawing, moving image, and found objects to create individual works and installations.
Layering each piece with newspaper cuttings of the two different intervals, vivid colours, urging you to look deeper while growing more on you as your gaze shifts from one point to another. The paintings had the agency to merge the artist’s gaze with the viewer and the power to catapult its audience to the times when you’d think life was fairly simple. Even though, these were visual representations of her memories, they nonetheless triggered emotions in me which I had barely experienced. A sense of happiness engulfed me looking at a kitchen setting filled with aromas and innocent giggles. Certain kind of smells, the backyard of your home, a type of food, or even just a word that would be brought back to your awareness. Upon asking her if things have changed since then, Michele didn’t think a lot had changed, neither internally or extremely in the world.
As urbanisation is becoming an attractive alternative for country dwellers, given its mass appeal, it should not come as a surprise that more than half of the world’s population now resides in cities. Lahore-based artist, Farrukh Addnan, grew up in Tulamba, a rural Punjabi village situated on an ancient and neglected archaeological site in Pakistan. Having observed his hometown Tulumba, a rural Punjabi village, take on a new form each passing year. Addnan depicted in his artworks the expansion of the village as not a linear progression but as something formless and in constant influx. The urbanites’ economic, political and customary dynamics in these new metropolises are also at play as new lands are becoming habitable.
Playing on a completely different theme, Adnnan had put together a collection that had taken him years of research, collaborative efforts, numerous experimentations, and a great deal of hard work and patience; while requiring him to stay consistent throughout.
Within his cityscapes, he also touched upon the sounds of the city, where he has managed to capture the silence that could be found in these cityscapes. An intriguing revelation for someone who cannot block out the all-encompassing sounds being created in micro-bubbles in a highly populated city.
Based on the observations of his hometown turning into an urban hub, led him to trace back the times when he was just a child. As he symbolically unravelled the juxtaposition of the old against the new. A highly sophisticated monochromatic series, there was much to admire about the work, especially the elongated roll that stretched across the staircase.
Those who appreciate art for how it makes them feel, not just aesthetically but also how it moves you in ways that come as a natural consequence of the interaction, a visit to Koel Gallery is a must on one of these chilly evenings!