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Saturday, July 2, 2022

When I look at the foliage of Lahore, I am also looking at that of India: Wardha Shabbir

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<br>This 34-year-old, who has been regularly exhibiting her work in India stresses she has always felt a strong connection between the people of both the countries despite the political differences.

Remembering that art entered her life at an early age when she would see her mother doodle and sketch out motifs on to a piece of paper, fascinating her how she could do that without even looking, the artist recalls, "She was also a gardener, something that interested me too. Eventually, I started making drawings of plants. I was in grade seven,<br>and I used to draw this botanical pattern — that is still in my paintings, the pattern of leaves that is mostly in the background of my paintings."

Talk to the artist about what fascinates her about miniature art and she says that the word ‘miniature’ limits the boundaries of what it could be, and would prefer to call what she is looking at as visual arts. For her, dwelling into this practice is actually the spiritual relationship that one forms with his/her art. "The relationship that you form with a dot — you put a dot together with another one that forms pixels of an image and then it comes to be more high resolution. So, I feel a connection to that dot, and when you put that dot on a piece of paper, your mind, body and soul have to be one and then you put the next one — leading to a spiritual journey of self-awareness that you are making with miniature paintings. The miniature that I do is mostly mirroring the experiences that I have in my society. Through the language of trees, I am forming those experiences into passages and pathways or survival of women."

Living in Lahore ever since she was a child, Shabbir has seen the city evolve just like her experiences. "I have seen the culture, temperature and air change. I have many influences from the city in my work. Like the yellow background in my works, the lights are that shade here.

The video work that is part of the exhibition, ‘The World Awaits you in the Garden’ was inspired by the notion of survival. In that work, I talk about the survival of the women. It was made in response to the unfortunate incident that took place in Lahore where a woman was travelling with her two kids in the middle of the night — because she was a woman and was alone, she was dragged out and raped in front of her children."

Though the Pandemic was a bleak period, somehow the works she created during that time are colourful. "I started to make these drawings titled ‘Khamoshi ke Kinaare’ and ‘Samundar Ke Khuski’ which are sarcastic. Something that is new in my style of art created during that period," concludes Shabbir, who is currently working on a solo show that will be shown in London in September.

Bhavna Kakkar of Latitude 28 adds, "The exploration of dark and insidious imagery underlies all of Shabbir’s work. Experiences within her own environment have enabled her to acknowledge laws of dystopia, cruelty, violence and power that prevail at the most microscopic of levels and in our own social strata."

(Sukant Deepak can be reached at [email protected])

–Ajit Weekly News<br>sukant/shs

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