Women, Flowers and Colours by Zubi Ali

Trying to paint women and flowers together would be stating the obvious. This is why the artist who is dabbling in such a pursuit has to be extra cautious.Reason being, attempting a feat like that more often than not results in predictable, and at times pedestrian, delineation of a subject.

An exhibition of oil-on-canvas paintings by Zubi Ali was inaugurated at the Dream Art Gallery on Tuesday. The theme of the show is the beauty of eastern women. There is nothing novel about the theme, which is why it’s all the more interesting to see how the artist has treated the subject. The variety of exhibits on display does tend to adhere to the subject. However, further meaning could be explored within that one given topic.

The women that Zubi Ali has painted seem to belong to the same socio-cultural bracket. The characters in the artworks can be distinctly differentiated in terms of their eyes and the background against which they have been made. The titles of the paintings can be a trifle off-the-mark, perhaps deliberately. For example, if a title suggests that the woman painted is an ‘intense’ individual it does not imply that she is a firebrand. The eyes of one such character point to the gloominess inherent in her very being.

Similarly one painting discusses the ‘attitude’ of a beautiful girl. The word ‘attitude’ has been used in an open-ended way. Its ostensible meaning is that of a haughty character. What it also hints at is, in the words of Milan Kundera, women’s ability to change the meaning of their action after the event.

Zubi Ali has tried to keep things simple. Flowers that adorn the background of most of the paintings and the splash of colours do commensurate with the persons in the foreground. So basically she has not experimented with either the form or the content, which is understandable.

Zubi Ali is a former student of the Karachi School of Arts.

The exhibition will run till May 1


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