Saturday December 02, 2023

Exhibition of ‘upside down’ artworks themed after Thatcher Illusion opens at Sanat Initiative

August 03, 2016


Themed after the famous Thatcher Effect, also known as Thatcher Illusion, the Sanat Initiative on Tuesday opened its gallery for a marvellously unconventional collection of artwork, titled Seedha Ulta (Downside Up) of the Lahore based artist, Anas Ghauri.

A graduate of National College of Arts, Ghauri’s artwork is known for the smooth detailing and texture inculcated through simple use of graphite and charcoal.

“I don’t like haphazardness in my paintings. Nowadays people just throw random colours without any justification, which is a fiasco,” the artist stated.   

The theme illustrates that the brain cannot properly process an image of a face that is upside down. Although being practised by artists for centuries now, this technique of deception has over time not has had many artists practicing it.

The illusion is named after the infamous British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, on whose photograph the effect was first and most famously demonstrated. 

Ghauri is the first artist to have introduced the style in the local art industry through sketches of the country’s political figures.

The artist depicts the ordinary man as bait in the current socio-political culture. “His work is amazing; it is a vivid expression of his observant nature,” said the curator of the show Abid Merchant.

The idea behind sketching political figures is to narrate the duplicitous essence of politics, we see what they want us to see, we hear what they want us to hear; however, the reality is entirely the opposite.

“I appreciate the notion of interpreting politics because that is only how the culture of hypocrisy can be rooted out,” said Farrukh an attendee at the gallery.

One of his artworks titled ‘Phati Bunyan’ depicts a common incident that occurs in every individual’s life.

The artist depicted emotions and injuries usually kept hidden deep within a person while they go on to pretend a strong and stonehearted being.

The vest outlines the wounds while a fresh tie signifies the act of pretending. The whole impression was encapsulated in the verse ‘Cheekh uthta hai badan mera phati bunyan se, Bara collar sajaaye phirta hun mein”.

The use of greyscale in particular is remarkable.

Another image illustrating a policeman in his uniform laying with arms folded, Ghauri tries to divert our attention to one of the most important social issues and that is of inactivity of the police department. Two tints of colour gray are well maintained.

“I love this work as it compels my brain to think extraordinarily,” said Maham Obaid a visitor at the gallery.

In line with the Chinese proverb ‘Humans are social animals’, it would be safe to say that we all have two wolves inside us, the good and the bad, it’s just a constant battle between the two, so who wins? The one we feed.  The exhibition will continue till August 13.