An Exhibition with a Touch of Brilliance at Satrang Art Gallery
Satrang Gallery inaugurated the Through the Looking Glass exhibition, displaying collective works of six talented women artists. Exploring the concept of portraiture each woman has a unique perspective and in most cases medium to share.
The Satrang Gallery aims to encourage and promote talented artists in their pursuit of excellence. In selecting themes that challenge the imagination and encourage introspection the Gallery is helping further the vision of the art community in Pakistan.Zahra Khan, the curator of the show, says: “Artists have been painting portraits in various forms for centuries and have thus been preserving the image of man. However, as this exhibition demonstrates, portraiture captures far more than the physical or even the emotional appearance of an individual; it seeks to preserve a state of being and convey an identity, influenced by history, society and culture.”
The six artists – Annem Zaidi, Cyra Ali, Faryal Ahsan, Sara Pagganwala, Scheherzade Junejo and Zahra Malkani – are exceptionally skilled and in exploring the theme have added dimensions of context, culture and modernity to their representations of individuals. In the tradition of art, some have also resorted to self-portraits, albeit with a twist.
Annem Zaidi and Sara Pagganwala have both turned towards their own images. Annem has drawn herself with a disconcertingly bold gaze, defying the typical perception of timid woman.
She says: “The underlying theme of my work revolves around the power and resilience of a woman.”
Sara’s work is more enigmatic as she says: “The definition of oneself has become an increasingly perennial question; a question that emerges out of this quest of self-discovery and re-evaluating one’s identity.”
Her search for the Self has produced two sculptures gilded in silver and gold leaf respectively of a woman dragging herself out of a wall.
Cyra Ali has investigated the behaviours of her subjects through their social and individual interactions.
Cyra’s ‘Piece de Résistance’ is a large acrylic and needlepoint on canvas portraying myriad tiny pairs of legs around platters of sweetmeats almost as if a wallpaper.
She says: “Most of my work stems from my desire to overturn the conventional trappings of femininity and masculinity and combat the longstanding patriarchal desires to repress woman sexuality. The Wall Flowers Series is based on such struggles and accomplishments of day to day life that fade into the background but are an inherent part of who we are.”
Scheherzade Junejo has also used the opportunity to translate her observations of a woman’s body into spectacular art peices. Her oils on canvas are starkly basic – emphasising the complexity of the female form through black and white representations – with all the possible shades of grey.
She says: “My work began as an observation of human behaviour through postures and movements. With time my paintings have evolved into highly choreographed visuals denoting the many personalities each of us has latent within us.”
Faryal Ahsan and Zahra Malkani used this exhibition as an opportunity to make poignant political comments.
Faryal has made complex collages of the lives and times of acid victims, denoting the multiple layers that form a woman’s identity and at the same time acts of violence that rob her of her unique face.
Zahra has painted series of tiny portraits of the missing people of Pakistan who are lost to us but for their faces on the internet.
Faryal’s work has been inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of joining broken ceramic pieces.
She says: “Feeling for such victims inspires an understanding of the courage that reverberates from some of these survivors who opened back up to living after their tribulations.”
Zahra says: “My work engages with the visual articulations of protest and the circulation, proliferation and archiving of images in cyberspace as evidence and resistance in the Baloch and Sindhi nationalist movements.”
Asma Khan, Founder of the Satrang Gallery, said: “The programme is especially grateful to Aziz Boolani, CEO of the Hotel, for his support and vision in supporting art and culture in Pakistan.”