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Publication Date : 28-02-2013
The tea kettle features as a motif in Artist Syed Faraz Ali's eccentric exhibition of sculptures in Karachi
During World War II, a famous Hollywood film studio known for popularising certain cartoon characters made propaganda movies for the US army. Apart from that, cartoon masks were designed as a measure to save the civilians from chemical warfare. This prompted some artists to depict the situation through their artwork. Some succeeded, some did not.
Artist Syed Faraz Ali in an exhibition of his latest sculptures titled Darkhuast Bara-i-Indiraj, which is underway at the Art Chowk Gallery in Karachi, has used the concept with tremendous effect and has in fact gone a step ahead. His artworks touch on the current theme of the US invasion in Afghanistan and the war that raged on after the ghastly 9/11 attacks.
The artist throws an indigenous motif into the scheme of things: the chainak (a tea kettle). Anyone who is familiar with our part of the world will instantly know that the kettle plays a ubiquitous role in the everyday life of the Pushtuns. Faraz has employed it as a weapon of war. This does not imply that there is an inherent shortcoming in the pot or container, rather points to the politics that is involved in the ostensible economic side to it. This is evident from the very first piece in the exhibition titled ‘Hidden Truth’ (stainless steel and glass). The dollar bill that the viewer can see in the mirror attached to the kettle is self-axiomatic.
However, it is with ‘The New Way of Kashkol’ (wood, stainless steel and brass) that Faraz impresses the most. The political content in the artwork is more than apparent with bullets dropping into a bowl. But it is the aesthetic element that the artist has been so wonderfully able to gel with the concept that doubles the charm of the artwork. Despite the directness of the theme, there is a nice artistic suggestibility to the exhibit. It is always pleasing to the eye.
‘Armytoon’ (plastic, rubber, mounted on canvas and board) takes the exhibition to a level where satire becomes more pronounced and complex.
The exhibition will be open till March 1.