“The sea has many voices/ Many gods and many voices”, T.S. Eliot wrote. We first sense the world through the fluid inside our mother’s womb, we communicate with the world outside through this body of water. Once born we are really thrown into the deep end of the endless ocean we call ‘life’. Only to be consumed by it. Encountering, batting or embracing its demons and its gods.
Oceans have held varying places in the imagination of societies, always linked to particular cultures and shifting in line with predominant world views and developing socio-economic and technological capacities. There are many ways of conceptualising the ocean, and different concepts exist concurrently, resulting in a multiplicity of perspectives that are changing over time. Water (such as the sea) thus, may become a metaphor for birth and rebirth, violence and death, self-discovery, spiritual journey, metamorphosis, change, inspiration and renewal. It becomes a language of our experience, a voice to our emotions. Its fluid nature allows it to be adaptive to each of our needs. Over and over again. Like the endless motion of the waves.
- Malika Abbas
Objects We Behold
October 04 - November 07, 2018
To curate was to be able to take ongoing conversations forward and to locate a wide range of journeys. Reading into work as opposed to showcasing it. What developed was a beautiful engagement by each artist into his or her concerns, articulated in unexpected form. Adeela Suleman, Affan Bhagpati, Marium Agha, Ruby Chishti and Tazeen Qayyum seemed to have seen or read “body” much beyond its physicality. The realization of “beholding”, being besotted. The object, a window to something else. And a world into itself.
The Show has been curated by Amra Ali.
The Distance Between Two Points
August 16 - September 15, 2018
Born in 1966, Roohi Ahmed graduated from the Karachi School of Art in 1992 and has largely worked and taught in Karachi, apart from brief sojourns in Australia from where she received her MFA at University of New South Wales in 2013 and multiple residencies in Bangladesh, Germany, UK and USA. In the 1990’s, Ahmed became influenced by other emerging practitioners who were engaging with the city and was involved as an early team member at VASL helping build it during its nascent stages in the late 1990’s. Ahmed’s practice evolved with exhibitions and projects both solo and in collaboration with other artists through the 2000’s and continues today.
The Distance Between Two Points examines the practice of Roohi Ahmed, a Karachi based artist who has worked in diverse mediums to explore overlapping concerns around nationhood, belonging, gender and the body.
Who Gets To Talk About Whom
July 05 - August 04, 2018
'Who Gets To Talk About Whom' - Opens at Gandhara Art on 5th July, 2018, by investigating the recent surge of collaborative formats of artistic practice in Pakistan, the project aims to identify the root instigator(s) and need for new modes of representation by means of encounters and discourse.
May 14 - June 19, 2018
Microcosm 2 has brought insight into how this generation of artists experiencing and reinterpreting their attitude, identity, environment, tastes, sexualities and political learning through their artwork. This exhibition offers a rich, intricate, multidisciplinary exploration of the work in a variety of media-ranging from drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, illustration, photography, video and few surprising mix.
PART I : DISRUPTION OF LANGUAGE
March 27 - April 13, 2018
‘Conversation with cold white surfaces’ was the first experience Aisha had when it came to Art Making. Starting from the blank white pages of a diary which is a symbol of keeping a day to day record of one’s pains and pleasures to the claustrophobic images filled with unreadable text spreading like a contagious virus. Starting from a very personal emotional turmoil it grew up to become a political comment such as ‘Personal is Political’.
A crucial aspect of her creative practice is working in an archival mode. The thought of exploring hidden treasures of narrative yet to be told excites her while digging for ancient documents, scripts, photographs and text. The images are static yet moving, the words say nothing but they breathe. It’s like weaving of a net or making of a cocoon with ultimate patience and sheer pleasure just as one’s develop a relationship or a spiritual contact. The lucidity in the free flowing forms is organic reminding one of body secretions as well. The works executed in liquid medium, reflects the obsessiveness with the process, a force to explode, a desire to break free from something tightly knotted. The heartbreaking ache for one’s own existence, the imbalance and crudeness of life constitute a mellow palette and mood.
The Boys' Playground
February 22 - March 16, 2018
These series of portraits consist of older men in their relative field of expertise which is their playground. I have photographed them intentionally on the 6 x 6 square format on film. There is a common discipline in this body of work i.e. one roll of film per personality. Amounting to 12 negatives per subject on an average. The light source is available light and most of the portraits are made with the camera aperture fully open for a shallow depth of field. This technique is very contrary to the rules of “Portrait Photography”, in which mostly pin sharp faces are emphasized as a rule. My project deals with frailty of the moment and circumstance as well. I couldn’t make contact sheets of all my subjects as in most cases negatives were studied and selected. The time and resource limit has forced me to be more on my toes in seeing the light, face and the transient company of the sitter.
The Fleet- A Solo Project by Fazal Rizvi
January 18 - February 15, 2018
The Fleet’ considers the possibility of the sea as a site through which the border is observed and imagined. This too becomes a space, despite its fluidity, that is marked, divided and policed. Floating upon the seas are various vessels, symbolized in this work through the body as well as the boat, that are used to examine tensions around freedom and captivity as life traverses through the marine.
Specifically, for the artist, the Arabian Sea littoral exists as a site of fluid exchange and possibility; especially symbolised by the fishermen who navigate this sea and depend on it as a source of their livelihood, but at the same time exist as victims of this system. Thus, through this body of work, the viewer may be able to better understand the politics of the sea and its relationship to land and nation.
Rooms are never finished
November 06 - December 09, 2017
Rooms are never finished', a title borrowed from Agha Shahid Ali, is a body of work that alludes to the shifting architectures of aspiration in a part of Karachi where the artist grew up. The neighbourhood is called Darakhshan Township, a development of Defence Housing Authority, and it consists of some 200 residential homes facing one edge of the Arabian sea (Seaview).
This work mulls over the shrinking of Seaview, a vibrant and free public beach enjoyed by masses escaping the weight of the city, and its relationship to the aspirations of a robust middle class living in Darakhshan across from it; upgrading, renovating and expanding their homes over the last 30 years. As the artist laments the loss of free public space on Seaview on the one hand, she looks at the land on which her own house stands on the other. It is reclaimed from the sea and eager to capture more space like the houses of her neighbours all around, begging an acknowledgement of her own complicity in the displacement of the beach and local ecologies she has loved in Karachi. Working through a series of interviews she looks at the aspirations of her neighbours and the workers on the beach to find that this complicity has surprising intersections across classes in the (often) self-destructive drive to develop the city.
Fortuitously framed by a house transformed into a gallery, this body of work hopes to peel away some skin and enter the underbellies of lives from a place of self-awareness. Like past projects this work explores fragments of longing also, but this time allows aspiration—a less seemly cousin—to peer through its clothes making the poetic rude, less self-indulgent, and local to a place that is magical even while it stumbles into unknown futures.
Before There Was A Monsoon
October 19 - November 20, 2017
Dual Concurrent Exhibitions at Gandhara Art Space
This exhibition opens at Gandhara Art Space on Thursday, October 19, 2017. This is a landmark show as we will be showing two separate exhibitions featuring the works of Abdul Ali Haider, Aisha Khalid, Afshar Malik, Anneka Cheema, Anwar Saeed, Atif Khan, Bushra Obaid, Fatima Saeed, Haider Ali Akmal, Hasnain Owais, Imran Ahmad, Imran Qureshi, Jamil Baloch, Laila Rahman, Muhammad Abrar, Dr Murtaza Jafri, Naira Mushtaq, Naazish Ataullah, Nurayah Sheikh, Quddus Mirza, RM Naeem, Saad Ahmad, Saba Manzoor, Sameera Khan, Sara Zahid, Zara Asghar & Zobia Yaqoob.
Gandhara would like to thank Atif Khan and the Cowasjee Print Studio for their collaboration on this project.
The Past as Present
August 17 - September 30, 2017
Archives have played a role in art-making as a site of inquiry to be investigated and transformed. As we approach the 70th anniversary of the creation of Pakistan, it may be observed that discourse centers largely on questions of fracturing and ruptures which are important notions to be addressed and unpacked. However, what happens after the moment of the rupture or the creation? And how do peripheries operate in this context?
In this exhibition, four emerging practices are placed in dialogue with each other to address notions of who would confused and create anxieties around national narratives through their practice looking at the archive. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s practice investigates notions of masculinity, sexuality and desire through the excavation of newspaper and print archive. Veera Rustomji explores histories of the Parsi community in Karachi whose presence is under erasure. Moonis Ahmad looks at notions of memory and how borders are imagined and understood in this context. Finally Ghulam Mohammad locates the politics of language through the practice of destruction and recreation of the national Urdu language, while not being a native speaker of it. Through these practices the viewer may reflect on how past histories and experiences, especially from margins, may allow us to understand the complex narratives of celebrating the present
July 20 - August 12, 2017
Microcosm - A current survey of contemporary art. A generational challenge has already been taken up and this idea has been explored in many major international projects in a global context. Youthfulness is a highly subjective topic and in the last years of boom, various artists came to the fore representing a new generation (young means under- 40). Based on the conviction that some of the most radical gestures in the art history have been carried out by the artists in early stages of their career, this curated exhibition, investigation or survey emphasizes the stars of tomorrow’s art scene who bring a myriad of visual culture influences in their art practice. There are 13 artists carefully chosen who are novel in this arena, previously hadn’t had any major exhibits and certainly their captivating works are yet to be seen with a youthful flair, and most importantly are born in 80’s or after. Some of them have yet to blow out thirty candles on a birthday cake.
Microcosm has brought insight into how this generation of artists experiencing and reinterpreting their attitude, identity, environment, tastes, sexualities and political learning through their artwork. This exhibition offers a rich, intricate, multidisciplinary exploration of the work in a variety of media-ranging from drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, illustration, photography, video and few surprising mix.
May 04 - June 23, 2017
Violence leaves traces. Be it habitually remembered or deliberately evoked, it has a deep impact on individual awareness as well as collective identities. The memory of violence is not only embedded in peoples' bodies and minds but also adorned onto space in all kinds of settings especially in the natural environment.Places and landscapes do not simply act as memory containers but rather profoundly shape, and are also shaped by, the ways in which violence is performed, experienced and remembered. This tense relationship is apparent in designed memorials — whether erected at sites where the violence and suffering took place, such as a war memorial, or constructed to forget violence and wish it away. Violence, thus, becomes a part of the landscape – the more heinous the violence the more beautiful its memorial.
Gandhara Art 2017
23 March, 2017
From emerging talents to the Modern masters of both Asia and the West, Art Basel in Hong Kong traces twelve decades of art history across its six sectors: Galleries, Insights, Discoveries, Encounters, Magazines and Film. On display will be the highest quality of paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, phototgraphs, video and editioned works from the 2oth and 21st centuries, by more than 3,000 artists from Asia and around the globe. The show will also offer extensive opportunities for intellectual discovery, through discussions and presentations, creating a platform of cross-cultural exchanges for artists, gallerists, collectors and visitors. Gandhara-Art Space is showcasing the works of: Khadim Ali, Faiza Butt, Fazal Rizvi, Risham Syed and Adeel uz Zafar.
Proposals towards a new architecture
23 March, 2017
A continuing investigation into the changing face of the city through measures of policing, securitization and urban regulation manifested in the barricades and barriers that have come to form a kind of 'soft architecture'™ of Karachi, this ongoing body of work presents itself as a witty series of proposals that attempt to formulate an integrated architecture of the city through new possible configurations of urban dwellings and structural formations.
WHAT IS SEEN AND NOT SEEN WITH OR WITHOUT SEEING
09 February, 2017
WHAT IS SEEN AND NOT SEEN WITH OR WITHOUT SEEING is a subjective survey of drawing as a reflective process which extends beyond sensory perception. It reviews the trajectory of an idea as it transforms from 'being' into 'becoming' (visual/physical manifestation of the idea), the transformation of the intangible into tangible, irrespective of the tools utilized to aid this process. This exhibition marks the beginning of a long term project tracing the trajectory of drawing practices in the contemporary art of Pakistan. It is specific in its selection of artists who have all been trained at the same institution, following a train of thought which has matured and branched out in distinct and diverse practices. It documents the inspirations and influences which have evolved in a language of its own over the last three and a half decades. Conceived and curated by Hajra Haider Karrar the exhibition features some of the most prominent names in the contemporary art of Pakistan, Zahoor Ul Akhlaq, Anwar Saeed, Quddus Mirza, Adeel Uz Zafar, Mohammad Ali Talpur, Ayaz Jokhio, Fahd Burki, Ali Kazim, Rehana Mangi, Noor Ali Chagani, Sara Khan and Hammad Gillani.
Traces of the Famliar
22 December, 2016
Ayesha Zulfiqar's new body of works represents her experiences of traversing between known and unknown paths where her memory is embodied in material and spatial conditions. The desire to transform the ephemeral and temporal into containable physical embodiments stems from an urge to revive lived moments in order to abate this longing. It is perhaps in resistance to accepting a foreign condition, the unease with the unknown where one tends to introspect and delve within in search of an intimate and known realm. The ritual of drawing her room repetitively from different viewpoints, documenting each detail and alteration over the years she lived there becomes an exercise in permanence establishing and giving life to the familiar An archive of reassurance - a physical manifestation of her primary construct. Now inhabiting these confines her focus extends beyond the material objects to the empty, invisible and connecting space in the middle, the spaces of circulation which capture her attention and are deemed to hold the same value as the material objects.