karachi, review

"home is where…" – Karachi captured in artwork of Madiha Sikander

In Madiha Sikander’s miniature art exhibition titled “home is where …” at Koel Gallery,  the essence of life was captured through the finest lines and most unique shades of gudrung  – the most vital medium used in this collection.

Sikander’s collection included 23 pieces of artwork ranging from a wide variety of miniature paintings to statues of prominent monuments of Karachi encased in glass snow globes. But what set each piece apart from one another was the unique aspect of everyday life in Karachi captured in each. Every piece conveyed something so ordinary in the most extraordinary way possible.

The display was balanced by a few paintings in the beginning followed by some snow globes and then the same order repeated.  
Gudrung on wasli was used in most paintings however, gold and silver leaves used here and were delightful for the eyes. The way different medium were blended together in the pieces was commendable as it brought a range of textures and finish to the artwork.  It also added to the broader theme of the exhibition, which reflected ordinary things as newspaper and valuables as gold and silver at the same time.

 ‘Same Sunshine for All’ was a piece that brought together a subject usually discussed at length in the most compact and beautiful way possible. Newspaper images of ambulances during a crisis along with fireworks portray a common situation in the city of lights i.e. of joy and tears at the same time.  Similarly, ‘No Ordinary Love’, a large gudrung on wasli piece put across the most sensitive matter in a way so subtle that it would be almost unbelievable for the viewers. The concept of sophisticated weapons being used by the rich as opposed to explicit weapons like guns being used by dwellers of Lyari was brought to life by a series of coats hung behind a suited boy posing like a shooter – a fine idea to convey this message.

Sikander’s collection evoked an emotion in a Karachiite like me that every person living in Karachi feels at some point in life but tucks away deep inside their heart.  It is the emotion of renewed love for the city as well as sheer sympathy for its victims that is evoked after viewing the exhibition.