Art often serves as a mirror for us to reflect and recognize ourselves in connection with our surroundings. When used effectively, works of art can create and convince us of another reality, based on multiple approaches – emotional and psychological – to hone an intimate bond with the world around us.
‘The Annual Emerging Artists Show’ has been anchored by My Art World, an Islamabad-based online art gallery that serves as a platform for emerging as well as established contemporary artists from all over Pakistan. “Our aim is to promote young artists with the opportunity to discover new talent, and see what they have been producing upon launching their careers in the art world”, says Zara Sajid, the curator of the gallery. “We also post artists’ portfolios and statements online so that people browse through other artworks that aren’t for sale”.
The current exhibition is showcasing thesis works by recent art graduates from the National College of Arts (NCA) Lahore & Rawalpindi, CEAD Jamshoro, and Punjab University. It is a collective effort of 27 emerging artists, reflecting big ideas and ingenuity realized through a variety of media. The artworks on display are highly diverse, ranging from figurative art and contemporary printmaking to infinitely layered abstract art. The artists have gained inspiration from their personal perspectives and philosophies, depicting their ups and downs and subjective experiences through their work.
Maha Hasan, a printmaking major, has displayed treated zinc plates on a black background. “My subject matter is actually the process of printing itself. Each layer I use gives me information for the next”, she explains. “I continue to explore the dance between ink and marks by using experimental methods of application that demand spontaneity in gesture and thought, while maintaining an informed reason for every action that is taken. I find this to be a challenging and illuminating experience, because it pushes me further into the discovery of new possibilities”.
Ali Asghar’s technique, though part of traditional miniature, narrates a slightly unconventional idea. He uses large-scale miniatures to reveal a dialogue between Man and his Creator. One gets lost in the fluid motion within the layers of paint as the eye moves along the swirling lines. The rapid application of paint juxtaposes harmony and conflict, where a set of colors depicts a serene figure while serving as the backdrop for different elements at the same time.
Saleha Khan’s art revolves around seeing someone’s presence in their absence. Her painterly work depicts an undone bed with personal belongings scattered around. Her artworks portray those involuntary feelings that one has to make an effort to shake off; the feelings that remind us that not so long ago, the place where we are was occupied by another person, who may not be there physically but has left behind traces of their presence.
On the contrary, Eeman Khan’s philosophy can be summed up through the famous saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. She paints women with composed facial expressions in a blank mask, giving nothing away at first glance; but as you come closer, it becomes evident that the composure is forced. She aims to portray the inner battles that we face on a daily basis, and the struggles that we want to hide from the world but are not quite able to.
Sidrat Munteha’s art pieces show a transformation from subtle hues and linear alignment to an unusual three-dimensional composition with complex patterns. She creates a multi-layered environment where shadows and lines merge into circular motions. The effect is engaging and the execution is strange yet fascinating.
This young generation of artists seems to be charting new territory by working with unexplored genres, forms and expressions. The way I see it, this is just the tip of what will soon branch out into a diverse, thought-provoking and innovative body of work by these emerging artists. We wish the best of luck to these immensely talented young graduates as they venture out into the world as professional artists.
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