Monday, April 19, 2010

Golden Jubilee Events - Young Art Graduates Make Their Mark

Offering a fresh approach to art, a creative exhibition of paintings and book art by four recent graduates of Rawalpindi’s National College of Arts (NCA) opened at Nomad here Tuesday.

The collection by Amen Sardar, Rabia Ghazal, Mahjabeen Mirza and Manail Muneeb has aroused interest, as it is after a fairly long time that Nomad has taken the initiative of exhibiting the works of young artists. 

Except for Rohtas, which has persistently been encouraging and patronising fresh art graduates, most of the galleries in the capital are seen to be promoting a particular brand of well-established and renowned artists in order to maximise profits and minimise risk. 

Director Nomad Nageen Hyat chose to give these young artists a chance, as she found their art as being contemporary and rich in language, scale and visual imagery. Moreover, she believes that the artists have very powerfully expressed their respective concepts. 

“I found in their respective expressions the urge to explore from within and the passion to create art in spite of and within the moods of the challenging and changing tempo of our society as it exists today - an often volatile living culture where we adjust to the cultural ethos and respond through creative expression,” Nageen explained at the exhibition’s preview.

Amen Sardar’s paintings are dominated by ‘fragile and pure’ petals alongside zoomed images of hands and feet. The artist sees a connection between the rose petals and the human soul. “It is the vulnerability of the petals that appeals to me,” she mentions in a written statement and then refers to a poet, who once said, “I would rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” 

“One has to look deep inside to search for it. I do not need face expressions to convey my message. The movements of the hands and feet are strong enough to tell their personal story. My petals are whispering in my ears and have something to say. Hence, they whisper through my paintings,” Amen says.

Rabia Ghazal’s work is very personal in the sense that is reflects whatever comes to her mind at a given time. “All the emotions, all that I feel, all that I cannot talk about to anyone, I like to portray all of it through my work,” she says. The artist tends to draw her own portraits over and over again. “That is probably because I am searching for my identity and also because I feel I can give the best expression, which I want to paint,” she explains. Rabia says she does try to put on the canvas what lies in front of her but tries to “create something which is, in itself, a living thing.”

Mahjabeen’s work is about celebrating fashion, which has always inspired her. “I am interested in how fashion conquers people’s hearts and minds, eventually changing their lifestyles and perceptions of their surroundings. I am experiencing it myself and trying to explore this within,” she says. The artist finds it charming to experiment with backgrounds. She has also related fashion with gender through the use of accessories which men and women use.

Manail Muneeb has contributed book art to the exhibition. “You cannot judge a book by its cover. This artwork is a pictorial story, unfolding into layers and depths in visual rather than verbal form. Bringing back outdated academic textbooks to the shelf, this is an attempt to add a twist to the discovery of a book. Let books now be re-discovered, viewed and appreciated,” she says. The exhibition, which has a refreshing quality to it, will remain open till May 10.

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