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Beyond borders: Young artists to represent Pakistan at India Art Fair

LAHORE: Four young artists will represent Pakistan at the 8th edition of India Art Fair, taking place in New Delhi from January 28 till 31.

The fair offers a distinctive chance to discover the best galleries in the region and across the world. Founded in 2008, it serves as a platform for modern and contemporary art and reflects South Asia’s diversity, while holding various lectures and projects.

Lahore’s Taseer Art Gallery is representing Pakistan at the Fair. “Taseer Art Gallery has already shown in Paris and New York. This time we are representing Pakistan in New Delhi and we are taking four young artists,” said Sanam Taseer, the Taseer Art Gallery owner.

The gallery is taking the work of Saba Khan, Farida Batool, Mohsin Shafi and Humaira Abid.

“This curation is dedicated to the city of Lahore. We have examined its domestic space through Saba, its hidden realities through Farida and its quirks through Humaira and Shafi,” she said.

Shafi, an interdisciplinary artist from Lahore, completed his master’s in visual arts from the National College of Arts in 2012.

He has four mixed media works being exhibited at the fair. “My work is combined from papers and inkjet prints, with acrylics, pen drawings, etchings and photo transfers.

My work investigates issues of gender, ideology, sexuality, spirituality and the tendencies of violence in our society,” he said.

Shafi added that the collages made use of images from newspapers and magazines, photographs taken from the Internet and personal archive, and then sewn together to form elaborate compositions that speak directly of the political milieu of our time.

Humaira Abid is showcasing two sculpture series using mahogany wood and bronze as her medium at the fair. Taseer described her as a contemporary artist from Pakistan. “Her recent work combines traditional miniature painting and wood sculpture. Her work examines women’s roles, relationships, and taboos from a cross-cultural perspective,” she said.

Farida Batool received her master’s in art history and theory from the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 2003 and a PhD in media and film studies from the SOAS, University of London.

Taseer said that her work served as metaphors for political mayhem.

Her piece, Eik Shehr Jo Udaas Hai (a city that is sad) is a tribute to Lahore, with the wall referring to its signature red brick architecture and the lenticular layering symbolising years of history and socio-political complexity.

Another piece titled Dekhna Manaa Hai! (Seeing is prohibited) shows 450 pairs of eyes, placed like tiles on the wall as they look at the rest of the show and the viewer.

Saba Khan completed her master’s in fine arts from Boston University in 2010 and is showcasing four of her pieces at the fair using acrylics on canvas with beads, crystals and mica. “My work is about Lahore and how it is the urban centre of the Punjab.

I try to portray the esthetics of the city, its interiors, and the passion of the people and images of prosperity,” she said.

One of her pieces titled: Halal Dreams is a tray of mutton. “It shows the prosperous class that buys meat from high-end super markets and not from the regular butchers,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2016.

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