Published Jan 12, 2017 09:56am

In 'Whole Wall is an Illusion,' Lubna Jehangir explores mystique and mysticism

'My cup runneth over' by Lubna Jehangir
'My cup runneth over' by Lubna Jehangir

Pointillism is not just about connecting the dots, as it were, to form an image. It is about visualising a world where images are more than what they evoke in a viewer’s mind. They create a labyrinth that is identifiable on a subconscious level, a metaphor for life’s intricacies that we oftentimes willingly accept.

An exhibition of Lubna Jehangir’s latest body of work, which began at the Grandeur Art Gallery on Tuesday, can be described in that way; but then there’s another parallel streak that runs through her work — of mystique and mysticism, which, by the way, are not always mutually exclusive.

Why mystique? To answer the query the artwork ‘Whole Wall is an Illusion’ will suffice. In the subcontinent, there are quite a few examples where wall has been used as a symbol of anti-love (Anarkali) which morphs into something greater. From the feeling of anti-love, it gradually provides the sense of freedom of the spirit to achieve wisdom. A famous Urdu couplet signifies this aptly:

Chashm ho to aena khana hai dahr

Munh nazar aata hai deewaron ke beech

[The world is composed of mirrors

The mind’s eye can see the face in the walls]

This is one of the themes that Lubna has touched upon in the show with a fair amount of artistic conviction. ‘Captives’ is another artwork that falls in the same category. The very name of the exhibit is a giveaway. But then the captivity that the artist is referring to, as discussed above, turns into something that leads to the path of self-discovery.

Left to right: Captives and Cast Away the Burdens
Left to right: Captives and Cast Away the Burdens

Now self-discovery, everyone knows, is a process fraught with trials and tribulations. ‘Cast Away the Burdens’ hints at that aspect of human existence without compromising the aesthetic side to life. This means, if on the one hand Lubna’s artworks are a reminder of life’s difficult routines, on the other hand it pays tribute, convincingly at that, to beauty.

The exhibition will continue until Jan 18.


Originally published in Dawn, January 12th, 2017

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