Restricting an artist’s wild dimensions is a big task. An artist’s imagination can go beyond limits and to work in certain limitations can be frustrating. But to make someone work accordingly is achievable and that Zara Sajid curator of My Art World proved. Recently curated show titled “2 x 2” at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Islamabad, they open up its new residence to provide an unusual environment to artists.
The collection on display has all works sized at 2 X 2 feet as the common element that binds the work together. The curator, Zara Sajid's, aim was to allow the artist to explore a concept that he/she feels passionate about these days. Inspiration could either come from the artist’s surroundings or the artist him/herself. A total of twenty seven artists were selected for the show from all over Pakistan and were given a four month period to work on two pieces in the medium of their preference. Artist’s include Ahsen Asif, Ahmer Farooq, Amber Arifeen, Ammama Malik, Amra Khan, Arsalan Naqvi, Ayesha Khan, Emaan Mahmud, Ghaffar Jatoi, Fatima Nadeem, Hussain Jamil, Maryam Baniasadi, Mahjabeen Atif, Mohsin Shaikh, Romessa Khan, Saamiya Razi, Sana Dar,Saqiba Suleman, Sara Aslam Noorani, Shaista Momin, Shiblee Munir, Sidra Asim,Taha Khan, Tehmina Rashid, Wasif Afridi, Zahra Asim & Zoya Manan were on display.
The specialty about these artworks was that they were not individual pieces instead it was a dialogue between them, a story that connects two pieces. According to Zainab Omar (founder off My Art World): “This is a bold and unique exhibition show casing the works of 27 very distinct artists each of whom have contrasting techniques, styles and mediums and each of whom has a different level of experience. What brings them together for this show is the theme of 2 x 2, forcing them to seek opportunities to express their creativity within the imposed confinements of barriers and boundaries”.
Ahmer Farooq is a lahore based artist who has been not only an artist but also worked in theatre, curation, management and the list goes on. Ahmer didn’t receive a formal art education, he did his MBA from Impperial College London and is currently working as the Communication Head of Nirala Sweets but his passion for art never ended. His current series is a mixed media art depictig the concerns, anxieties and movements in the world around him. Hiswork has been displayed not only in Pakistan but in UK as well.
“The purpose of my art is to achieve the totally abstract. I want to communicate only to the extent that the painting will serve to induce or intensify the viewer’s natural desire for contemplation without the benefit of a guiding principle”.
Ahsen Asif graduated from NCA in 2008 and since then he has displayed in numerous exhibitions on National and International level. Currently Ahsen is among the faculty members at National College of Arts.
According to the artist “I find the ordinary things in daily life meaningful. Eggs are a symbol of existence, unpredictably and all the surprised the future holds. I look at my surroundings in a surrealistic way and paint it on to canvas. My perspective towards reality is shown through my work where I twist the actual functionality of the object. Painting clouds and eggs in a single frame symbolises hope and fragility”.
Amber Arifeen, also an MBA but passion for art never stopped her from painting. 2 x 2 is Amber’s first group show at MyArtWorld. According to the artist: “facial expressions can serve as a window into people’s personalities and one can easily access how that person’s personality is and how there mood is”.
Ammama Malik graduated from National College of Arts, since then she has participated in group shows at MyArtWorld and is currently working at Roots International. Her work has the true essense of painting. Her “work is about application of the paint and what is it that makes a painting. It starts from the making of the folds, but what becomes significant through the process is how it drapes the surface through the paint, brushes and the act itself”.
Amra Khan is a visual artist graduated from National College of Arts and Master’s from Ecole Nationale Superieure dex Beaux- Arts Paris. Her work is about a constant struggle between one soul. Two different temperaments on one person.
“From the Impotent Spectator, just letting you know, I woke up like this! I’m Flawless!” Syed Arsalan Naqvi received his art education from Khana e Farhang Iran, Hyderabad. Currently he lives and works in Jamshoro, Hyderabad. “After painting forms and figures for the last few years, I feel like expressing my emotions and feelings through lines and colors. What I paint on canvas for 2 x 2 is what flows through instictively. Memories, dreams are diffused through hues and tones of predominantly red. This series portrays my current state of mind that my artistic journey has lead me to”.
Ayesha Khan’s artworks relies on personal symbolism, merging surrealism with realism. Her current works for this show are based on the tragic situation of “bijli” in our country. Emaan Mahmood an IVS graduate. Apart from painting Emaan is deeply interested in art therapy. She started “St.art” project- which was aimed at uplifting the spirits of street children and providing them with an avenur of expression in the form of art. “ Action of painting for me serves as a meditative experiment. Using different kinds of paint, I am always trying to discover new ways of mixing and merging them to make a single entity, in the form of heaviy textured abstract forms. Often, I try to use what my experiment with paint has taught me to recreate the feeling of swimming in the ocean at its bluest or standing in front of mountains at their grandest. This longing to be closer to nature fuels my work”.
Fatima Nadeem an IVS graduate, received an award for the best drawing portflio. According to Fatima “People are products of their environments and ironically their environments become a product of them. It is this correlation that has inspired my practice. People are subjective- one being different from another- while at the same time are conditioned into becoming who they are by the social politics and history that exist within their environments. They are products of the past and their present and their spaces reflect these very dynamics of who they are and where they have come from. Fatime investigated the manner in which people impart their cahracter, past and present into their homes- breathing purpose, personality and cultural narrative into spaces that there were once just cemented walls of white.
Gaffar Jatoi is a contemporary abstarct artist, graduated from CEAD. Jatoi’s art is based on colors which express multitude of thoughts and feelings. He feels that colors convey messages. Inspired by nature and surroundings, he captures time and portray each moment through mixed colors from sunrise to sunset.
Hussain Jamil, an NCA graduate feels that the static, expressionless figures from traditional miniatures are unrealistic. His later artwork questions the image of Mughal courts and all the emperors. In his artworks exagerrated expressions and gestures are visible.