India a vibrant market for Pakistani art

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) Pakistani works are drawing attention at the ongoing India Art Fair for the many obvious similarities they share with the Indian counterparts and for their subtle hint of sarcasm at the perennial conflict their country is engaged in.

For “Art Chowk” gallery owner Camilla H. Chaudhary, India has always welcomed Pakistani contemporary art and offered the much-needed support to the artistic
community to sustain it.
“The Indian market is extremely dynamic and I must say very open to the artists from neighbouring countries,” Chaudhary, who has bought the works of five artists to the fair, told IANS.
The owner of the Karachi-based gallery had participated in the 2013 fair as well and the works were well received by the collectors. This time they have brought works of five Pakistani artists whose have used varied mediums for expression.
But the recurring theme in most of them is of “politics of aesthetics and merging of conflict with it”.
Artist Sadia Jamal’s “Parwaz Bara-e-Farokht” (Flight for Sale) has used surgical blades and wire mesh to create “wings” that reflect upon the irony of today’s time, where everything is on sale. Similarly, Atif Khan’s “The Lost Garden” is a political take on the colonial hangover and its implications on modern Pakistani society.
Represented by Latitude 28, Karachi-based artist Muhammad Zeeshan has been selling his works through this Indian gallery. And at the art fair, the 34-year-old artist is capturing the audience’s attention with the “brutal reality of art being finite and focus on the importance of time”.
“Indian exposure is bigger and at the fair, one gets to see works from many international artists, including India,” Zeeshan told IANS.
“There are not many collectors in Pakistan and what is beautiful is that Indian collectors have shown interest in contemporary Pakistani art. They like to take our
work back home and proudly display it,” he added.
Zeeshan had couriered two works of his that were framed in the capital. He has put them in a glass box which is attached to a pipe running to a tank containing black ink. These works will slowly start drowning in black ink.
“Here I am playing with the memory. An artist creates something and then sells it off. So the time duration is extremely important in art and this is what I aim to
portray here,” he added.
The India Art Fair will conclude Sunday.