Idols opens at Canvas
KARACHI, June 19: The word ‘quotidian’ used by artist Hamra Abbas in her statement describing the gist of an exhibition of her work titled ‘Idols’, which opened at the Canvas Gallery on Tuesday, is a tad ambiguous. The reason for it might not make her unhappy, because looking at her work gives a clear indication that what she’s been able to achieve is beyond the realm of the quotidian, which means the artist is quite capable of inferring extraordinary things out of the ostensibly commonplace happenings around her.
Hamra Abbas is a known artist, and like all sensitive souls, she can’t remain unaffected by the daily goings-on, be they of a seemingly perfunctory nature or intellectually provocative and challenging. This is the reason that in recent times, while being away from Pakistan, she observed the different economic upheavals that jolted western society. Beginning with the economic meltdown that shook the US in particular and moving on to the occupy Wall Street movement, the artist opted to take pictures of the people that she came across and conversed with. The images were then turned into sculptures. And seven out of 22 heads (Diasec C-Print) are on display.
Back to the quotidian issue: a closer look at her work tells the viewer she has this uncanny ability to impart perceptional angles to reality. The images at first look sharper and inflated versions of normal characters (owing to the diasec process). Then it dawns on the viewer that the lines and curves on their faces are indicative of the kind of lives they have either led or wish to lead. From here on the subject becomes a not-so-readily understandable story. The artist’s hard work has paid off.
Another section of the exhibition is about a mythical winged horse with the head of a woman. It is a work of art to behold, primarily because it points to the artist’s fecund imagination vis-à-vis a mythical creature that holds an important place in our culture. The exhibition will continue till July 19.