EESHA SUHAIL EXHIBITION: SYMBOLIC REALISM @ DAWN.COM

EXHIBITION: SYMBOLIC REALISM


Saira Dar | July 15th, 2018

Lahore’s O Art Space Gallery continues to showcase the work of young, accom­plished artists. Its most recent exhibition, titled Forecast, included eight art graduates; five from the National College of Arts (NCA), and three from the Punjab University College of Art and Design (PUCAD). Eesha Suhail, Iman Sara Siddiqi, Jahanzeb Haroon, Syed Noroz Ali and Tooba Ashraf are NCA graduates, while Aun Raza, Fakhra Asif and Zainab Aziz graduated from the PUCAD. The commonality between their artwork was the element of painterly realism coupled with symbolism to give the imagery a meaning that went beyond the obvious.

Suhail’s almost photographic realism seems to be her hallmark. One recalls having seen her thesis work at NCA a year ago and her ability to capture textural and light effects was remarkable even then. Two of her paintings on display in this group show are an extension of her earlier ones, though the compositions are indeed new. The miniature-style works, made with gouache on wasli, feature a conglomeration of still life items; crystal vases, silver tray and flowers set on a sleek, wooden dining table in a dark but opulent room adorned with lighted lamps and candles. The titles, ‘To Exist Is To Die’ and ‘Home Is Where Your Demons Are’, give an eerie ethos to the visuals.

Siddiqi’s style is realistic, too, but in complete contrast to the aforementioned paintings. The mixed media, almost monochrome works, are a re-imagining of ancient classical Greek sculptures. The headless torsos that appear in different configurations, are very sensitively done, and allude to a poignant, symbolic representation of human power, pain and fragility.

A group of young artists presents the

poignancy of life through dark and incongruous imagery

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A cynical and amusing take on local wedding festivities appears in Haroon’s colourful canvases made with acrylic paints. His style of realism reminds one of veteran artist Iqbal Hussain, though the colours here are more expressionistic.

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