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May 12, 2016

Fractured Narratives — one foot in the past, other in the present


May 12, 2016


Looking at the work of Syeda M. Habib’s ‘Fractured Narratives ‘ showcased at Canvas Art Gallery, one can surely say that her paintings are a vivid manifestation of the famous quote by Joel Osteen: “Humans were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed or unworthy. Humans were created to be victorious.”

Perhaps this is why Habib wants us to learn from our glorious past instead of looking past it by putting together timelines illustrating present alongside previous times.

The artist uses current newspapers, an item used daily in our lives yet discarded very easily, to give a present sense and to give an archaic touch she turns to Mughal art to create a harmony between two eras.

The curator, Sameera Raja opined that this form of art was seldom seen
these days: “Such depiction of contemporary art is rare to witness nowadays; Syeda M. Habib had done a marvelous job and thorough research.”

One of the paintings depicts a newspaper in the background with a buffalo followed by man in the foreground. The framing of this piece appears to be highly noticeable because of the colour selection —red is a dominant hue which represents many emotions including anger, aggression and even love, rather even the centrality of the frame is relevant to the current age.

It explores an important message of how digital evolution has taken control of human lives.

The frequent use of circles are also observable in the paintings — one of the paintings carries a huge circle with numerous hexagons on its circumference; and these hexagons are technically made by newspapers which gives a white touch to the red circle. This painting illustrates the idea of self-centeredness while the edges of the frame are left with hexagons which may translate as the chaos in human nature.

“She has done a beautiful job, her work symbolises the disturbed and chaotic nature in contrast with contemporary issues of the world”, commented known art critic Marjorie Husain.

Another painting titled as ‘Leap of Faith’ holds geometrical importance as it portrays infinite boxes juxtaposed in an intriguing manner with a man jumping over them.

Habib’s work throws light on the continuous distraction of media and technology, which drives mankind away from its traditional order.

“The amount of news and information an individual is bombarded with these days is main interruption between him and God”, said Habib describing the essence of her work as to how mass media creates impediments in reaching a spiritual level.  

The exhibition continues till May 19.

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