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February 17, 2020

Of boats and circles

Karachi

 
February 17, 2020

The ArtChowk Gallery is hosting Henri Souffay’s solo art exhibition titled ‘Boats and Circles’ until February 20. A statement released by the gallery quotes the artist as explaining the meaning behind his art show’s title.

Boats from the past

A few years ago, Souffay discovered a 19th century book titled ‘Souvenirs de marine’ that was written by Vice-Admiral Francois-Edmond Paris. “It contained ship plans, for the most part now extinct. I then decided to ‘recreate’ these boats in drawing format according to the very plans and descriptions made by Paris,” says the artist.

Within a circle

Taking the circle as an entity, Souffay says that all that surrounds it disappears. “Our attention, focused within its boundary, knows no distraction, no disturbance, no interference; only the circle and its contents remain.”

A teacher

Souffay first came to Pakistan in 1974 as a French language teacher for the Alliance Française de Karachi (AFK). After a brief spell in France, he returned to Karachi to join a private company until 1995, before being posted for a few years in Singapore, Jakarta (Indonesia) and Chiang Mai (Thailand). He then returned to Karachi in 2004.

He is a self-taught artist who has exhibited his works thrice at the AFK: in February 1982 (an exhibition of surrealistic drawings), in December 1982 (an exhibition titled ‘Doors and Windows’ on the old buildings of Karachi and Thatta’s Makli Hills), and more recently in February 2005 (an exhibition titled ‘Around Mohatta Palace’). Souffay is married to Resham Sayed. They have a son and a daughter, both of whom live abroad.