Afterimages Exhibition by Nisha Hasan & Zoha Khan
on Wednesday 11 March 2015 at 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm
the Exhibition will continue till 25 March 2015
Mon – Sat: 11 am to 7 pm
Indus Valley School of Art Architecture
St-33, Block-2, Scheme-5, Clifton,
Karachi – Pakistan.
Ancient Greek philosophers postulated origin of life from non-life and the evolutionary descent of man from animal. This was known as the theory of evolution, though time and again as we proceed into the future with technological advancements certain theories have been challenged.
Evolution, on the other hand is still in process, non-life to life and man from animal is not the end of the chain. So what lies ahead; man to machine and man to animal or an amalgamation of all three? The possibility of such an eventuality can be fathomed as we experience the rapid developments in technology which are isolating and enslaving man, where he is connected to the machine more than to others around him. There is a slow process of complete detachment where while being in the same place, people merely exist instead of living with each other. While machines get more sophisticated, human behaviors are deteriorating resulting in violence and intolerance. It seems as if we are walking on a treadmill, which is constantly increasing its speed and the main focus is to keep up with the pace.
The two artists in this exhibition draw a halt to this treadmill and present some reflections and observations. Zoha Khan’s multilayered paintings with photo transfers zoom in on the banal things around, which indicate human existence. They have been painted in such a way that they seem to be crucial and the center of human existence.
Nisha Hasan constructs intricate collages creating post-apocalyptic images where man seems to bear the consequences of the industrial age, by turning half human, half machine, and loses the sense of superiority, power and independence to something mechanical. The intricate pieces that Nisha builds up in an image hints at the millions of ruptures which human kind has experienced and is comprised of; fragments which join together to make a whole.
(Source, IVS-GALLERY Page)
The sensitivities of two young artists surface in their masterpieces on display at Indus Valley School (IVS) Gallery. While one of them, Zoha Khan, seems to have set her focus on how man has become so dependent on the machines that he created, Nisha Hasan has commented on how we like to believe we are better than animals but fall to their level very frequently.
To add to the viewer’s sensory stimulation, Hajra Haider has exhibited some great curatorial skills. As artist Suleman Khilji points out, she played with gallery space and the placement of images. The gallery is divided in two sections, each holding one artist’s works. Take a stroll through both the sections and you will feel like you have taken a small journey.
“Earlier, I used to work with figures at [National College of Arts] NCA,” she told The Express Tribune. “I used to make huge canvases of 5×7 feet.” She added that she wanted to move away from figures and towards objects in her art. She experimented with objects; first interior and then exterior, as shown by her works, too.
Most of her works depict images of objects, such as fans, gas cylinders and generators. She explained that since she belongs to Lahore, her works reflect on the way these man-made machines have become so important in life that we can’t stop thinking and worrying about them.
This idea was reinforced by both Khilji and Haider. Khilji, who was in the same batch as Khan, described how he has seen Khan’s works from the beginning. He talked about her shift of character, that is, the human in her work replaced by machines. “This is the idea of man being replaced by man-made objects.”
According to Haider, as technology keeps getting more advanced and sophisticated, the behaviour of man becomes more rigid and animalistic. “Zoha talks about how things become more important than human beings,” she said. “These things are no more than just support material. Yet, they have become something that you depend upon instead of the human relations around you. Now you have more of a connection with your technology, for instance your phone, than you have with anyone else around you.”
Coming over to Hasan’s works, Haider was of the view that the artist has taken up a ‘sort of a post-apocalyptic scenario’ in which she talks about what the future is going to be. “We always think that we are superior to animals because we have the power to think,” said Haider. “But what about the things we have made with this power to think? We have become slaves to the things we created.”
The validity of man’s claim to supremacy over animal reverberates in her works. One of her artworks depicts a scene that evokes the image of a chicken being slaughtered – this is an important aspect of her work: nothing is absolute, the works are ambiguous and you may give them your own meanings. The image of the chicken being held in the hand of a man-like figure is vague. Sometimes it looks like a chicken, at others it looks like a human heart. Whatsoever it may be, the comment is on man’s cruelty.
Talking about the works in general, Haider said that as technology becomes more sophisticated and slick, we become so engrossed in it that we are hardly left with any time for reflection. “We consider animals inferior but, for Nisha, there comes a point when we all become the same: death,” said Haider. “When you and the animals die, you come to the same equal level.”