Artwallaa believes that the recently opened exhibition ' Stranger Than Fiction' by Adeel Uz Zafar (AUZ) at Gandhara Art Space is local yet completely global in nature. The exhibition is local because it is happening in Pakistan (Karachi) but is truly global in nature in terms of diversity of works, quality of works, curatorial focus, installation of works, the duration of the show, accompanied by a book launch and last but not the least, the presence of the artist himself.
|Wet-plate-collodian based work. Source: Gandhara-art|
Artwallaa was aware of Mr Zafar's work, but really noticed him through his work in 'The Rising Tide' at the Mohatta Palace Museum in 2010.
You simply can not miss AUZ's works because they draw instant attention. They are very large in size (and hence impact), are usually monochrome (and hence unusual), appear to borrow from familiar natural or fictional characters (and hence affect natural attraction), the bandages make you wonder what the underlying message is and they draw you in because of one's curiosity towards the medium of work.
Once you get close to the work, you are intrigued by the technique and the material used (engraved drawing on plastic vinyl), and by the flawless execution of the technique. Amongst a lot of others, Artwallaa was also not able to avoid these 'temptations' and has enjoyed this series since then.
At the back of my mind, however, was always this question; what will AUZ do next. He cannot keep on doing this series alone (regardless of how enjoyable each of these works are). In the past twelve months, Artwallaa has found multiple answers to those too. AUZ has come up with new series in etching prints, wet-plate-collodian based images and the latest introduction of 3D works. The current exhibition seems culmination of the past two years of this journey of discovery.
|Blossom, Painted Fiberglass, 66.04 x 53.34 x17.78 cm, 26 x 21 x 7 in. |
Artwallaa credits Mr Zafar of bringing pop culture into the Pakistan visual art vocabulary and using them in different mediums. according to trhe artist himself, "Stranger than fiction features a selection of seminal anthropomorphic characters known around the world for their incredible feats and heroic actions. The imagined content is not necessarily based on facts, but it contemplates and interrogates society, politics, philosophy, life and adventure. It highlights the hopes, frustrations, dreams and
disclosure from some of the living experiences of everyday life".
The use of Powerpuff girls in vinyl and also in fibreglass emphasises on feminine issues as well power. Artwallaa assumes Mr AUZ is also a tribute to the ever-increasing list of achievements of Pakistani women (including the Nobel Prize, the Oscars, The Emmys and the Asia Cricket World Cup; and not to forget the powerpuff girls of visual arts - Shahzia Sikander, Aisha Khalid, Naiza Khan and so many others).
Go Pakistani Women ! Go Pakistan Art ! *
Your 'Go Go'
* these terms should not be misconstrued for the terms used repeatedly in the political apace in Pakistan. To avoid any doubt, the above terms definitely have positive connotations attached to them !