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Thursday June 20, 2024

‘A Cautionary Tale’ brings the harsher realities of life on canvas

Karachi “They don’t question it but I am here to question. Our contemporary socio-political situation revolves around security issues but the most agonising part is that it has become a taboo. It affects us deeply...we are not comfortable with it at all but at the very same time, we don’t

By Ebad Ahmed
October 08, 2015
Karachi
“They don’t question it but I am here to question. Our contemporary socio-political situation revolves around security issues but the most agonising part is that it has become a taboo. It affects us deeply...we are not comfortable with it at all but at the very same time, we don’t talk about it. They may not be questioning it, but I am here to question.”
In these words, Saad Ahmed, a lecturer and thesis advisor at the National College of Arts, and, also a theatre artist, summed up the idea behind his 13-piece exhibit, “A Cautionary Tale”, that opened at the Art Chowk Gallery a day earlier.
“As you can see, the images seem to be half-loaded,” he said. “The idea behind my work is that we as a society have undesirably given our permission to certain elements to have a role in our lives, due to our security-driven fears. It is a complex relationship, where we don’t even like their presence in our lives yet we seem to have accepted it.”
Ahmed, who joined the exhibition little late due to the frenzied traffic of Karachi, believed the idea behind his work was not only close to himself but it was something that everyone in the country, who happened to be in his age-group, went through.
“You can see from the work, my subject is the middle-aged man/woman, because they are the ones who ware most likely to pass through this phase.”
When The News asked Ahmed if his work was a classic manifestation of the security-versus-personal-liberty idea, perpetuated by British philosopher John Stuart Mill, he replied, “The idea, simply, is to look into what we go through. It may touch those philosophical notes, but primarily it is the materialisation of an observation.”
Amna Abbas, one of the early visitors at the exhibition, said the beauty of Ahmed's work was that it was very relevant to everyday life. "Unlike the clichés of traditional art which pontificate the rosy, pleasant and hyper-real world, his work not just expresses, it screams reality."
“Look at the one, right there,” she continued. “The artist has named this piece ‘An Unordinary Burden’. This picture reminds me of the APS Peshawar attack, which is a reality that no matter how hard we try, we won’t be able to erase from our national conscience.”
All art lovers in the city have the opportunity to experience reality through colours and canvas till October 20 at the Art Chowk Gallery.