Women haunt Al-Hamra in Quetta colours
By Zainab Khar
LAHORE: A startling exhibition held by a husband-and-wife team opened at the Al-Hamra Arts Council on January 20. The painting and sculpture show is a must-see.
Natalia Tariq Boichenco from Kishiniv, Moldova, is fascinated by her husband Tariq Kararís hometown of Quetta. This fascination dominates her canvases.
Ms Boichenco works in oil and her piece, Pashtanna, shows a young Pathan woman dressed up to the nines. This picture is haunting. The backdrop is devoid of coloursó symbolising the emptiness of her lifeóand contrasts with her colourful clothes, a combination of yellows and greens. There is a quiet smile playing on her lips while her heart seems to be bleeding. Her eyes are mercury, her person mannequin.
Another one of her works, Shahzade, again shows the female subject presenting an outward appearance of happiness but an inner landscape that longs and bleeds. Her look speaks of despair. The green of her robes speaks of the natural order of things, of life. Elegantly reposed, watermelon slices in front of her representing the abundance of material comfort in her all, Shahzade appears not human but part of a still life.
Ms Boichencoís subjects are not simply women. They are possessions playing out their lives for society. These women call to mind Ibsenís stifled protagonist from A Dollís House. However, Kochae, another subject, seems to be the opposite. She is placed in a forest standing akimbo, a water jug weighing one shoulder. This woman is dressed in green, pink and red and seems infused with the confidence and resilience of youth. This is a young woman. She is what Shahzade and Pashtanna once were.
Coming to Mr Karar, 35, his works are steeped in intricacy of detail. The texture and skin of his sculptures reminds one of Yusuf Kash, the renowned black-and-white photographer famous for capturing and emphasising skin textures in his celebrity shoots. Only a couple of the pieces on show are new. But prominent among the works is a fibreglass depiction of horsed warriors.
Ms Boichenco, 30, was at the State University of Arts in Kishiniv in 1989-2000. This was where she took her bachelorís and masterís degrees in painting. Mr Karar was at the Donetsk State University in the Ukraine in 1988-89. He did his masterís and doctorate in sculpture from the Ukrainian Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture. Their exhibition runs until January 31.