Friday September 24, 2021

Solo show set to reflect changes in societal norms, modes of education

July 26, 2021

An art show, ‘SIM: Soch, Ilm, Maqam’, featuring works by Raheela Abro will be opened at the Canvas Gallery on Wednesday, July 28 at 2 pm.

In the artworks to be exhibited, the artist seeks to stretch the boundaries of contemporary miniature through three-dimensional interventions on novel mediums. He works concern about identity, nationality and faith manifested as metamorphosis of the mundane.

A Duchampian fascination with the found-object coupled with traditional techniques reveal miniature still-life compositions, which the artist painstakingly constructs using various combinations of SIM cards and sculptural mediums.

A bridging of genres and display of masterful skill, Raheela’s works turn the humbly prosaic technological device into an ode to literature, knowledge and reading. Lamenting generational preferences for electronic information, the artist, being an educator and a PhD candidate, venerates the physical book.

Through her beautiful creations with painting, sculpting and imbuing the fragile forms of these vast electronic information repositories in the shape of their analogue ancestor, she reminds us that the thirst for knowledge begets evolutionary leaps. From thought to wisdom, these gaps our filled by libraries of man’s experience.

According to Raheela, a central concern in her work has been the complexity of identity. Through this series, various identities are represented by using the surface of a mobile phone’s SIM card. She says she has channelled the diverse and unique elements of the Pakistani nation in terms of religion, nationality, and currency – encapsulating these as definitive of contemporary norms.

One of these norms is the electronic boom, wherein an entire generation prefers the company of a tablet device to that of physical literature. She says that in her professional career as a visual practitioner and educator, she has observed this aversion to the past manifest as lack of engagement with the history of art, especially of our vernacular culture.

The preferred mode of reaping knowledge seems to be through words or images on a screen. The pandemic brought its own challenges to academic institutions, which had to quickly adapt their modes of education. With virtual platforms becoming tools for dissemination of knowledge to students, learning through the ever-accessible mobile phone is now more popular than ever. Hence, the SIM card has become the fount of knowledge for the young generation, allowing them to fulfil their academic needs.

The show will remain open daily until Friday, August 6, from 11am and 6pm, excluding Sundays. The gallery encourages all visitors to maintain the social distancing protocol for a safer viewing experience.