LAHORE - Thirteen artists having different backgrounds, some who had witnessed the inglorious movements of war in Yugoslavia, some had confronted odd moments in life while others quest led them to leave their homes. They all ended up landing in Austria in pursuit of settling in new homeland. 

The Austrian Embassy in Pakistan has organised an intercultural and international art exhibition titled “Where Are We?” which has started at Alhamra Art Gallery under series named ‘Hinterland Galerie in Pakistan.”

The exhibition was jointly inaugurated by the Austrian Ambassador in Pakistan Dr Brigitta Blaha and Executive Director Lahore Arts Council Capt (Retd) Atta Muhammad Khan.

Thirteen artists’ artworks are on displayed at the exhibition, which will continue till May 22. The exhibition aims at promoting intercultural understanding and after Lahore these Austrian artworks will be exhibited in Islamabad at COMSATS Art Gallery.  

The artists include Carla Degenhardt, Siegfried A. Fruhauf, Clemens Krauss, Azra Akšamija, Vooria Aria, Constantin Luser/Stefan Arztmann, Lisl Ponger, Frenzi Rigling, Gabriele Sturm, Niko Wahl, Nives Widauer/Ilma Rakusa.

Azra Akšamija, a Sarajevo born artist, art installation ‘Nomadic Mosque’ highlighted the spatial relationship between Islamic traditions and modernity while living in the US and Europe.

Austrian Ambassador in Pakistan Dr Brigitta Blaha talking to this scribe said the aim of the exhibition was to promote and cement relations between Pakistan and Austria. “The exhibition’s purpose is to gather artists from different countries and exhibit their work to help resolve the identity crisis,” she said. 

Artistic Director and Founder of Hinterland Galleria Gudrun Wallenböck, who was very much happy exhibiting the artists’ artwork displayed in Pakistan, said that she was first invited in Tehran, Iran in June 2015 to exhibit the young promising artists. “After that we exhibited it in Vienna, Austria and from there we displayed the paintings here in Lahore,” Gudrun said. 

“The exhibition is about the personal journey of the individuals. At the same time these paintings and artworks also shows the dilemma of identity of an individual with whom one always struggles”, she said.

Voria Arisa Iran born artist now lives in Austria worked on the traditional graves which are usually arranged with slates. “The thing that fascinated me the most was the pattern of slates laid on the graves. And I am working on this since my childhood,” Voria said.  

Punjab Arts Council President Mian Ejazul Hassan said that international artists coming to Pakistan and exhibiting their artwork at our art galleries was the most encouraging part about the group show. “The longstanding tradition of Lahore of having good ties with other art capitals of the world is being revived with such events and I appreciate the Austrian artists who have showcased their work based on unique themes,” Mian Ejaz said.