Return of the Native mirrors Lahore colours at Rohtas 2 Art Gallery
The exhibition, representing three generations of artists – working with a wide spectrum of materials and processes, and diverse approaches to art making, has one thing in common; their deep-rooted connection to Lahore. Whether way-farers, like David Alesworth from Britain, who chooses to make Lahore his home or Faiza Butt who resides in London, but returns now and then, to renew her bonds with passion – all four artists in the show represent Lahore’s beguiling spirit and fascinating hybridities.
Historically, Lahore has nurtured a visual tradition which encompassed the iconoclastic ‘moderns’ like Shemza, Shakir, and Ahmed Parvez alongside the classicist Chughtai, and the pedantic Ustad Allah Bux. Khalid Iqbal has quietly painted in and around the city, in which Sadeqain, also flamboyantly painted walls and ceilings, and Zahoorul Akhlaq mentored a whole new generation for the 21st century.
‘Return of the Native’, held at Rohtas 2, in its ironical title, hints at this eclectic, generous and welcoming culture. It denotes an expansive visual art scene, in which Anwar Saeed’s intimate, brooding figurative works are content to share the intimate gallery space with Faiza Butt’s waspish, witty images of blundering males.