Pakistan Art Forum Collectors’ Soiree 2022

The Pakistan Art Forum Collectors’ Soiree 2022 opened its doors on October 7th. This annual event started back in 2018, hosted by curator and founder, Imtisal Zafar. This year featured new and mid-career artists from the homeland and beyond, with the most impressive body of work I’ve seen in a while.

One could find an art piece that resonated within under five minutes after walking in. Right in front of the door, the jewellery house Moushe displayed its modern and eclectic yet elegant pieces. The art display featured several different and yet simultaneously, relatable themes in which the artists worked along. 

Under the theme of abstraction, the works of Faizan Riedinger were very therapeutic. He thought it necessary to “capture and encapsulate movement, rhythm and vibrations”, which he did so splendidly because I spent much time entranced before it. Perhaps you might want to go deeper into the minimalism of abstraction and prefer Sabir Ali Talpur’s series of the most simple yet communicative illusions. Along the lines of metaphysics, there was Noori Malik’s piece of bright and bold shapes, almost a darker version of the works of Hilma af Klint.

A shout out to Ahmer Farooq who displayed two giant paintings (and a mock design of a matching bra) telling the story of a breast cancer survivor’s journey to reclaiming their identity after such pain and trauma. Similarly, Maira Hashmi’s cement sculptures (but with such an organic form!) targeted oppressive societies where female repression runs rampant.

In the categorisation of identity and personal expression, Fatima Hussain’s profound pieces were sure to leave you in awe. Marwat Hidayat displayed charcoal portraits of meticulously sketched limbs, and a sculpture of the same subject as well. 

Satire took form in the works of Noman Siddiqui, Kausar Iqbal, and Fahim Rao (the framed dog head, the serpentine guns,  and the Murgha, respectively). Politics and the social order could be seen in Sivasubrumaniam Kajendran’s Selflessseries, where the animatedly disfigured human bodies against a bright yellow background are “painful reminders of war and disaster” for the artist. 

Javier Arizabalo’s work was the epitome of realism – I had to take a closer look at the painting because my mind refused to believe that it was a photograph and not the mastery of a human being. Speaking of the latter, an admirer of portraits would have a difficult job choosing one. The cubist works of Zoya Manan sparked something in me that I can only describe as yearning. Ali Karimi told the story of love through his smooth, charcoal portraits of women. Eloy Pereira displayed a surrealist oil painting of what I can only describe as a ‘tatted up blond surfer-cat hybrid’. 

Personally preferred were Fraz Mateen’s Tree of Knowledge sculpture, Noureen Rashid’s successful experimentation with Mughal miniature portraits, forever favourite Hussain Jamil’s ‘mirror’ sculptures, and Salman Hunzai’s Dan-e-Jee, which were beautiful paintings of stone beings.

What a gorgeously curated show! If you fear you have missed out, you’re in luck because Pakistan Art Forum will open its doors again on October 11th for one last viewing of the display. Do not miss out this time!

Artist, critic and a self proclaimed historian. I write about the this and thats, odds and ends, and etceteras of the art world.

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