LAHORE - An Art Speak session featuring Pakistani-American contemporary artist Shahzia Sikandar was held at Alhamra Arts Council on Friday as part of Lahore Biennale. The session was well-attended by people from all walks of life including socialites, celebrities and art critics.   Shahzia Sikander is best known for her experimentation with the formal constructs of Indo-Persian miniature painting in a variety of formats and mediums, including video, animation, mural and collaboration with other artists. On the session Shazia said that she is so humble to be a part of Lahore Biennale.

She presented her immersive animation Parallax which was created in 2013 for Sharjah. Her work Parallax examined contested histories of colonialism, mechanism, of power and tensions over the control of trade route in Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Trenchant historical symbols are given shifting identities as they come together to cultivate new associations through velocity and magnitude.

The animations original score was created in collaboration with the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning composer Du Yun and poets from Sharjah. Parallax has travelled to over fifteen venues globally and continues to interrogate ideas of language, trade, empire and migration.  On Thursday, the session highlighted the artworks displayed at Jinnah Garden.  The sitting was moderated by Aziz Sohail and panelists were Ali Kazim, Wardha Shabbir, Noor Ali Chagani and Mehreen Murtaza. The videos were also shown during the session.

Ali Noor Changani said, “For me, bricks are symbol of home, family, power and strength. In our society a man’s responsibility from a very young age is to provide shelter or home to his family. This idea is so deeply entrenched in our psyche that some men spend their entire lives pursuing this dream. These responsibilities and firm ideas around masculine identities never allow men to show their softer or more emotional sides. These thoughts have inspired me to make a work that provides another interpretation for a brick wall, one in which the wall structure appears more organic, and not as rigid as how we understand walls to be.

“Ali Noor’s installations employ reused terracotta bricks. These bricks salvaged from temporary constructions that bear visible traces of the bricks past renditions and lives. They bring to the garden verified experiences of constructions inhabited and demolished into the garden, returning the damaged baked clay to a state of nature.”

Mehreen Murtaza said that she has created an allegorical sounds cape by tapping into the secret chemical and biological language shared by trees. “The work asks us to reconsider our own relation to nature and imagine a living pulsing universe beyond the domain of the human.”

Mehreen has worked across a range of media to explore the intersecting worlds of technology, nature, science and spirituality.

Mehreen’s work that is exhibited at Lawrence Garden was previously showcased at Manchester Art Gallery.

Wardha Shabbir’s large scale installation juxtaposes two different dimensional landscapes from the British style layout of the garden.

Trained as a miniature painter, she extended the garden and a gesture that draws from the Indo-Persian engagement with nature as depicted in historic miniature paintings.

Ali Kazim’s installation highlighted the quasi-archeological site wherein the fragile clay heart sculptures suggest affect and belonging may point to restriction placed upon public expression of love. The archaeological site as a modern survey and inquiry came into existence in the 19th century of South Asia, but here Kazim attunes the site to evolve memories and fragile attachment in a contemporary context.


–Staff Reporter