Opening of the painting exhibition of national winners

Islamabad: ‘The Winners’, an exhibition featuring the works of 14 of the 21 artists who won prizes in the biennial’s four national Arjumand Painting Award competitions, is now on public view at Gallery6.

In 2015, Gallery 6 launched the said award to recognize outstanding emerging Pakistani artists who possess distinguished talent in painting.

The paintings of Kiran Saleem, who won the first prize in 2015, mainly aim to realize the truth behind common events. She presented a commentary on our current socio-political scenario in a fascinating way, using the dog as a symbol of a historical painting.

Saba Zahid won second prize in 2015. Her paintings deal with the image and identity of a woman in today’s world, and how today’s culture and traditions have shaped. The artistic practice of Zakir Baloch, winner of an award of merit in 2015, revolves around ordinary objects with innumerable visual possibilities. The process of rendering the drawing and making different meaningful visuals out of it becomes his contentment.

Irfan Gul Dahri won the top prize in 2017. Regarding his current series, Irfan states that as children we hear stories with fantasy characters of hybrid nature possessing human and non-human attributes and living in distant lands of magic that makes them strangely attractive. From Egyptian, Greek and Hindu mythologies to Tom and Jerry and emojis, human beings have lived this parallel reality through creative imagination since time immemorial. In short, he anthropomorphizes ideas and stories that lie between the realm of perceived existence and that of fantasy.

The work in progress of Naqsh Raj, winner of the third prize in 2017, is a union of mechanical and manual painting methods. Repeating a banal technique to make imprints with human hands is the symbolism of his imagery. Bushra Khalid is the winner of the merit award in 2017. Through her current works, she wants to instill empathy in people towards the planet Earth which is facing the deadly consequences of climate change.

Javaid Iqbal Mughal won the merit award in 2017 and the third prize in 2019. His work explores the silent conversations between the male sexes in society and studies the unbalanced nature of the hierarchy between men.

Syeda Unab Sumble, winner of the first prize in 2019, focuses on ordinary people who contribute significantly to our lives in subtle ways but remain unnoticed. Unab’s attention to detail, mixed with diligent color schemes and hyperrealism, leaves audiences in awe.

Samra Cheema, winner of the second prize in 2019, paints directly from the tube or dry paints on the canvas and creates a sensational texture using her fingers. It depicts human emotions. Asghar Ali, winner of the merit award in 2019, finds himself obsessed with human portraits conveying a state of mind. He tends to prioritize expressive micro-details that portray the subject’s joy, pain, anger, anxiety, or depression.

Karim is the winner of the first prize in 2021. His current work investigates questions independent of the consequences of war – on man and on nature, deforestation and global warming. The chosen medium is charcoal which reflects these concerns as it is a by-product of a volatile process in itself, acting as a metaphor for the cycle of life and the potential for a human to be reborn from the ashes.

Khadija S. Akhtar is the second prize winner in 2021. She attempts to chase and reimagine the fleeting joy of what once was. The artist’s battle with depression leads to an intimate quest, seeking and portraying spaces of comfort, as a process of retrieving episodic memories, processing trauma and questioning history.

Ahsan Javaid, winner of the third prize in 2021, often finds himself stuck between subjective truth and objective truth and sometimes wonders: “What is real? The work he has produced over the past few years has recently shifted from an inquiry into his perceived reality into a search for the imaginary realm of his subjects.

Sana Iqbal is the winner of the merit award in 2021. Through her work, she attempts to explore how boundaries are defined, their connection to the concept of “other” and the impact they have on our identity as a nation and as an individual. She does this by examining sites that are abandoned or once were because they offer a unique fusion of past and present.

The exhibition will continue until Thursday January 27 every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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