Dust and petals | Art and culture.

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W.Looking around the gallery walls, ribbons and dandelion ips come to mind. Produced by Asim Akhtar, the artist Rahim Baloch’s Hot Mead Flower in Karachi’s Chokandi Art Gallery draws you in calm and magnificent splendor.

As Virginia Woolf compares Syria to a woman who “adorns herself with blue and pearls” – Baloch’s palette is all about the moon and the sea. He raises his palette to warm tones for larger pieces, but it’s the blues that change the viewer. Recognizing nature as the ultimate creative project that teaches us a seamless design and justice system, Baloch celebrates its elements and structures using its ancient worker bee as a stimulus. Cultivated and cared for since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, these insects are a symbol of professional determination not to leave forehead sweat. The bee is like a community doctor – necessary and respectable. Against the backdrop of evening and moonlight, Baloch bees establish their work in dials, crescents and orbits. There is a hive flagship, its hexagon is barely understandable. Bees sitting inside silver bubbles release golden spray on the Black Sea. She is a cocoon in a cloud of graphite flowers. It is the stuff of poetry and fairy tales, all etheric and arrogant. In another work, bees hover around a pink flower, in a circle around them a breath-taking text slogan: “Target killing. Missing people. Protest.” You almost remember the words in the beauty of your work. Do All of a sudden this is a very personal reflection of weakness and dissatisfaction.

Trained in a small tradition at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Baloch make paintings so delicate and beautiful that one forgets that they were torn from the place of loss – the death of the artist’s father..

Baloch is attracted to spaces, and the ingenuity of his paint creates interesting structures. In one painting, a whirlpool blooms like a flower, in others the lines break, the nets form, or the fungus dies. Some give birth to a corpse or a hibernating creature. Although great, the large paintings are pale in comparison to the small works of Baloch, which amaze you. These pieces of the song sound like they were made of smoke or magic. Paintings are subconscious, blooming like flowers when you spend time with them.

Trained in a small tradition at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Baloch make paintings so delicate and beautiful that one forgets that they were torn from the place of loss – the death of the artist’s father. That is why there is a temporary feeling everywhere: its vast webs are uncertain. His figures are temporary. It seems that the artist is carrying this instability with him. He hails from Balochistan, which has seen places like Quetta, sometimes becoming a pleasant city of fruit trees. A gleaming elf breaks down while reading a book, the fibers of its being melt into dandelion wires, float at night, join a vast universe (a hope) surrounded by mountain shapes that His body is a mirror. This piece is especially poisonous. Although in his statement, Baloch says that his practice calms him “and becomes a source of calm and serenity”, this work opens a wound. We know we’re looking at statistics in a nutshell, and it will all be over soon. The artist reminds us of the eternal questions here and hereafter and about returning to the dust.

The show coincided with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – an event whose name is disrupted because it was held in 2021, not 2020. Interestingly, neither Baloch nor Asim Akhtar could go to Karachi to inaugurate the exhibition, which was later postponed. Rising cases of corona virus point to our weakness in a vast world, where hidden forces can invade our bodies and the planet. It is as if the universe were echoing the message of the paintings, that we, the weak human beings, could disappear like pollen, and become part of the blades of grass and flower petals.


The author is an artist and writer from Karachi.



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