Turkey and Pakistan have always enjoyed cordial relations. The foremost reason for this is the strong cultural bond that the two countries have. An exhibition of photographs taken by Turkish photographer Erkut Onart that is currently under way at the Alliance Francaise is a testimony to the cultural affinity that the two nations have.
Onart has travelled extensively. Travelling is one thing, but in order to capture a scene through a lens to pay tribute to nature’s munificence one needs to have a keen sense of observation. Onart has it. The pictures on display, in terms of geography, largely cover Pakistan and Turkey, and yet there’s an unmistakable universal appeal to them. ‘Roman Theatre, Perge’ is one example of it. Despite the fact that it’s an overhead shot of the age-old place in Antalya, Turkey, the viewer can get a clear sense of the common history that belongs to all mankind.
The artist creates the same impact when he grabs an image of Sehwan Sharif. He steps back, focuses on the shrine and places it in the background. In the foreground, there are locals’ houses. So Onart wants the viewer to see them not as a detached part of the holy place, but as integral to its general atmosphere.
Then there are pictures from the streets of Istanbul. Two stand out in this writer’s mind: one, in which a tram can be seen moving through the city; two; a fruit shop. There’s delightful naturalness to the two images, especially to the latter in which the fruit vendor has his back to the camera and yet it doesn’t take away from the subject matter, which is the life of the common man.
Perhaps the most intriguing exhibit on view is ‘Troyes’. Anyone who has even a modicum of interest in Greek mythology will enjoy it thoroughly.
The exhibition titled ‘Turkey and Pakistan — two nations bonded by faith, culture and brotherhood’ will run until May 21.
Originally published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017