A 20-day ‘Takht Bhai to Potohar’ exhibition was inaugurated on Tuesday at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) as part of a series of regional exhibitions aimed to illustrate the historical, religious and cultural diversity of Pakistan.

The curator of the exhibition, PNCA Director General Jamal Shah has collaborated with several prominent and prolific artists for the show. The inspiration for the exhibit is the works of Mansoor Rahi, who also served as chief guest at the inauguration.

The works of 109 artists have been displayed in the show including Elahi Baksh Mattee, Azeem Iqbal, Tayyaba Aziz, Aqeel Solangi, Ahmed Habib, Tariq Kakkar, Babar Khalid, Abbas Shah, Abdur Razzaq Razi, Nigar Nazar and Sana Arjumand and all the artworks show regional landscapes. The variety of designs and methods include painting, calligraphy, sculpture, photography and miniature.

The works by Hajra Manoor include subtle paintings titled ‘Persian Queen I’ and Persian Queen II’ which portray the extravagant style, poise and dreams of a Persian queen.

The painting of her husband, Mansoor Rahi, is next to hers and is titled ‘King’ which demonstrate a bold form of a male figure in a cubical form.

Sana Arjumand’s ‘En Route Paradise’ is an oil painting with neon effects in which a setting of vibrant colours surrounds bright pink flamingos with a bright yellow sky and floral shrubbery. The myriad of colours and textures brings elegance and simplicity to a spring landscape.

Zahidul Haq’s ‘Kalash’ is a painting of the features of a woman positioned against a blend of floral arrangements.

With a simple design and a resounding political message, Jugni Chaudhry’s rendition of the Pakistan government displays a clown seated as either the president or prime minister of the country with the Quaid watching over him.

“The idea was to give a context to artists and not restrict their expressions so they may incorporate the most enviable philosophy of this land and present the cultural visual vocabulary of Pakistan,” Jamal Shah said at the inauguration event.

Jamal Shah has sought contributions from various renowned and new, emerging artists. The show is creative and thought provoking.

The show extends from one gallery to another and makes for a visually pleasing display.

Originally published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2017

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