artists & participants
Playing with a Loaded Gun: Contemporary Art in Pakistan
Kurator: Atteqa Ali
mit Arbeiten von Ambreen Butt, Alia Hasan-Khan, Hasnat Mehmood, Imran Qureshi, Rashid Rana, Reeta Saeed, Adeela Suleman, Masooma Syed, Risham Syed, and Saira Wasim
They say that opposites attract—some contemporary artists in Pakistan encourage them to come together. They take the nation's most difficult social, cultural, and political issues and examine them in beautiful and playful artworks. Some use the elegant and jewel-like technique of miniature painting while others incorporate imagery, materials, or styles from the colorful mass culture. In both approaches, artists consider quandaries such as nuclear war, domestic violence, and murder.
By merging seemingly divergent sentiments—grim and pleasing—they create complex works of art. These images thrill the viewer with their precious styles, carnivalesque constructions, and vibrant colors. But this delight quickly shifts to dread when the subject matter is understood. Even as the viewer is horrified, the images draw the eye closer through their luminosity. In this continuous movement back and forth, the viewer is at once attracted and repulsed, never settling on either emotion.
This dichotomy suggests life in Pakistan, where even the founding of the nation combined the joyous celebration of independence from British rule with the violent events that ensued when it partitioned from India. More than fifty years later, people in the South Asian country continue to face the tragic consequences of its beginning, including on-going tensions with India. The nuclearization of both countries and the struggle over Kashmir, for example, are issues that are connected with Partition and effect life in both countries today. But even as they deal with security threats and government instabilities, Pakistan's citizens enjoy the pleasures of life. The works of art in this exhibition mirror this complexity.