Birthplace Aroma

Usman Saeed dabbles into poetic writing inspired by nine works of art produced in his hometown Lahore

Nida Bangash – Black Sheep’s Wool – Digital print on paper

(Canvas Gallery, Karachi, September 5-15, 2011)

Michal Glikson – Half Circle Scroll (detail) – Watercolor on paper

(Alhamra Art Galleries, Lahore, September 29-October 8, 2011)

Iqra Tanveer – Paradise of Paradox – Courtesy Greynoise, Dubai

(SCORE, Drawing Room Art Gallery, Lahore, October 12-22, 2011)

Ehsan ul Haq – Physical Existence of Belief – Coutesy Greynoise, Dubai

(SCORE, Drawing Room Art Gallery, Lahore, October 12-22, 2011)

Imran Ahmed Khan – Hypothalamus – Flatbreads

(SCORE, Drawing Room Art Gallery, Lahore, October 12-22, 2011)

Sajjad Ahmed – Play Field (Cape Town) – Digital print on paper

(SCORE, Drawing Room Art Gallery, Lahore, October 12-22, 2011)

Fahd Burki – Saint – Acrylic on paper – Courtesy Greynoise, Dubai

(Greynoise, Artissima 18, Turin, November 4-6, 2011)

Saeed Akhtar- Untitled – Charcoal on paper

(New Works, Artscene Galleries, Karachi, January 7-14, 2012)

Talat Dabir- Untitled – Terracotta and stoneware

(Aag, Matti aur Paani, Artscene Galleries, Karachi, April 14-21, 2012)

Raavi, once Lahore’s river- now its drainage outlet, wears a muddy shade of brown facade during daytime. The water sweeps within itself the toxic waste of a major chunk of the metropolis. But even through the long scorching summer days, it remains chilly cold- capable of cooling down the nerve-endings of potentially sunburnt feet.

Can muddy shades be attributed to mediation between comfort and discomfort? Relevance could be found in observing the closing eyes, presumably in the hope of a peaceful sleep. The act reflects a place resting between lullabies of luminous crystals and screeches of dark abstractions.

Artists of a fragile hinterland partake in galvanizing their respective universes into sculpted and painted poems. When their illuminating creations tend to read, recite and reflect- the sensation is likened to scanning of a colossal shoe-house, controlling departments of climate-change, land-grab, nationhood, citizenship and hospitality. What sieves then, is the romance of hunger- like an art gallery switching into a restaurant, presenting tangible recipes of culture preservation via consummating notions of inauguration and closure.

Temporal luxuries materialize into urban cityscapes, if art being produced in a city commandingly mimics the workhorse of business and commerce. In Lahore’s case, emotive monumentality is meticulously patterned with walls as bodies and windows as souls. Infiltrating anthropologic delicacies and outlining mythic traits, the works tend to be imbued with an aromatic spirituality.

Presence is measured in bread, while absence is dreamt in wine. Self-expression is never to be solely achieved at the expense of the sanctity of the subject. Metamorphic measures or metaphysical dreams never cease to exist, working as our bonds with otherworldliness- both in survival and destruction.

Traditions inevitably propose degrees of logical belief and primordial solidity. If humanity is hinted to be at odds with the environment, an intense portrayal of intuitive energies sets in- drafted with wry, elegant humour and glazed with poise. Although a miasma of despair rises from the banks of Raavi, yet it boasts this day’s icons of redolence.

This review was published in HELLO! Pakistan (August Issue, 2012)

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