Focusing on contemporary issues

In a diverse blend of style, thought and technique, the exhibition of recent works by Hadia Moiz and Farheen Maqsood at the Khaas Gallery focuses on contemporary issues with a modern twist on art in a challenging way to revive the essence of creativity through exploring the relation between tradition and modernity. The works on display show that art is an experience in form and ideas rather than an excuse for object making.

Both Hadia and Farheen seem to be bucking the trend by using a centuries old medium to interpret current events in often daring ways that challenge perceptions filtered through the mass media. Their emotionally charged works show that the younger generation of artists has brought a swift change to the art scenario in Pakistan through their vibrant and diverse techniques, aiming to produce ‘objects’ representing thoughts and ideas for aesthetic consumptions. The exhibition indicated their links with traditional subjects and conventional mediums, yet they were able to create works that dealt with the issues common to everyone, and at the same time, their voice remains individual, unique and innovative that can challenge existing norms, tastes and concepts. One is also made aware of the vitality and freshness of approaches found in works of both Hadia and Farheen.

It is an accepted fact that art does not necessarily require a permanent space and is not limited to a tangible item. This frame of mind helps change the typical idea of art, and it was seen in the works produced by Hadia Moiz, the ‘mushroom artist’ holding her third exhibition in Islamabad. With a new addition of Indian style and colour, Hadia’s works reflect modern applications of the miniature style, representing the serene world of the flora and fauna, describing the inner and outer self and how they are following each other, which she calls as ‘confronting, conflicting and somewhere confused’.

Using mushroom imagery in miniatures, Hadia explores the issue of space and its link with fluctuating forms. Some of Hadia’s work on display has a sensual feel without any reference to blatant sexuality. She creates an image of intense intimacy with reverence, like a meeting of souls rather than bodies.

About her work, Hadia says, “My work is basically about myself and my surroundings, and my reactions. But I do not impose those feelings on others and want the viewers to find for themselves, as every painting has its own interpretation. Each work has a particular significance for me and it is up to each individual to take from it their own meaning.”

Farheen Maqsood’s second exhibition in Islamabad reveals the continuous growth of this particular art form as a vast medium of experimentation. She also explores in to experimenting with contemporary miniature in varying ways. A graduate from NCA, Farheen has been working as an assistant teacher at Beaconhouse National University. Her creative energies seem to revolve around locating identity and understanding existence in a complex, yet splendid world. Her work put on display at Khaas Gallery tells of an intense fascination of the artist by the natural and the artificial.

With symbolic references to old manuscripts to renditions of floral and figurative imagery, Farheen seems to access the organic and the synthetic with ease. Farheen’s visual references and presentations are indirect and somewhat ambiguous, which can be an expression of inner confusion regarding the status of self in an ever-changing world. Farheen Maqsood’s selection of anatomical heart as the main feature of her compositions signifies a change in the visual culture of our times, dealing with the similar theme of freedom from traditional logic, reasoning, free exploration, and voyage into subjectivity.

The exhibition would continue at Khaas Gallery till December 3.

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