About A series of drawings and paintings by Ayaz Jokhio and Ahmed Ali Manganhar:
Jokhio began his career as a poet and cartoonist, and the practice of casting an ironically detached, sometimes cynical eye on the world spills into his art. Executed with much skill, his works in this exhibition investigate the experience of making and viewing art as they jump wittily between their physical materiality and subject matter.
In his new series, Jokhio plays with different media, subjects and processes, distilling his art works to their components the ingredients that make up an artwork: paper, paint, canvas, etc. A series of drawings show the artist's pencil over the course of the month as it is used and chewed down to its stub. With one rapidly diminishing pencil per page there is a playful humour to the work. However, this focus on the small details, the graphite strokes of the pencil with its shadow, the glossy surface of a squeeze of fresh paint, create a sense of unease, of a hidden motive, leaving the viewer with a feeling of otherness and impatient to see a bigger picture. The viewer becomes an active part of the artwork rather than a passive spectator.
Ahmed Ali Manganhar
Ahmed Ali Manganhar connects through his work with his cultural roots and history like Jokhio he is from Sindh in Pakistan a region that has seen immense changes to its character since the Partition of the subcontinent, the exodus of the region's culturally important Hindu population, and the unprecedented influx of migrants to its port city Karachi.
Originally a billboard painter, Manganhar has a sustaining fascination for his medium. He might add layer upon layer of thin paint to give a translucent, luminous quality to a work, or he might scrape paint from a sheet of slate to reveal an image, or paint a loose figure onto a strictly geometric pattern, allowing the pattern to emerge through the light strokes that make up the person.
His key work in this exhibition explores the birth of Pakistan as a nation and its complex history through visual metaphor a mountain gradually morphs into the headless torso of a man wearing a suit and tie, symbolizing a slow shift towards bureaucracy; a close up image of body parts is partnered with luxuriantly coloured flowers moving from nude skin tones to the vivid red backdrop of a panel painted with a pink rose.
The sensitivity of his handling of paint and subject matter speaks of an artist engaged passionately with the unfolding of a nation's history.