The choices that Marvi Memon — the artist — has opted for during the course of her four-year struggle to galvanise support for new politics find a powerful manifestation in an art exhibition that opened at Nomad Art Gallery here on Monday.
Marvi has come to realise that cohabitation with the best of old politics is necessary to be able to achieve new politics, which is a relatively long-term goal necessitating a constant struggle. And the same thoughts are reflected in her art as well.
Born in Karachi in July 1972, Marvi got her schooling in Karachi, Paris and Kuwait. She graduated from the London School of Economics with BSc Honours in International Relations. Whilst her training in art started with Nahid Raza, she later went to France to train in watercolours.
Marvi served as member of the Parliament from March 2008 to June 2011. She has recently launched a movement for rights and is galvanising Pakistanis to reject old politics and embrace clean politics which can enable Pakistan to earn a respectful status in the world community.
“Art, for me, is a way of expressing what I feel and sees around myself,” Marvi said at the exhibition’s opening. This is her first solo exhibition. “I have undertaken this exhibition to illustrate the causes that are important to me in politics and to contribute to those causes financially, with the proceeds from my paintings,” she said.
Titled ‘Discriminations,’ the exhibition reflects issues that have left a strong imprint on Marvi’s mind during her political struggle. She has portrayed the struggle for acid legislation, injustices of ‘karo kari,’ women’s empowerment, and women in chains. “I have taken you through a visual journey of the long march against water thieves across the Indus and the disastrous floods, as well as food insecurities due to lack of climate change sensitivities,” she said.
Marvi’s struggle for the survival of minorities and Shias; the language bill, along with the depiction of Pakistaniyat and the federation; the demographic dividend versus disaster; and the ‘dharna’ struggles that she had been a part of are all woven into the collection. “I have painted American boots on ground, the pain of the drones and the terror attacks, as well as the air crashes-all this in the midst of clashing and crashing institutions.”
Marvi hopes that as these paintings sit in different drawing rooms, they should serve as a reminder of her ongoing grassroots struggle for a better Pakistan.“Marvi Memon is a name that brings to mind, an impassioned orator who has been visible for some time on the political scene. As a parliamentarian, she has tabled contentious bills, stood her ground on burning issues and worked in the field. She met me recently as an aspiring artist working on issues close to her heart. We are pleased to present her work,” the gallery’s curator Nageen said.
All of Marvi’s work is experimental. She has used oil and acrylic on canvas for all the 32 paintings on display. The exhibition will continue till July 31.