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The Webs We Weave

Amna T Naqvi
Gandhara-art November 2008,
Hardback, 50 pages
ISBN : 988172668-9

Safdar Qureish has taken his practice out of the miniature studio for this exhibition. He is a graduate of the National College of Arts, with a specialization in miniature painting. His hallmarks are still present, such as the detailed drawing and rendering, which have emanated from the miniature technique as well as his earlier stint as a tailoring assistant. The introduction of this earlier practice takes Safdar away from the miniature tradition and into the realm of visual artists who are adept at bringing other elements to their art practice. Qureshis installations were inspired by the artist’s musings at the electricity poles outside his house. These needles and thread, symbolize the poles and wires of an electricity grid. In Pakistan, they are a confused mass as certain parties pull illegal connections from them. They are also a final resting place for kites and kite stings, through the length and breadth of the country. The grid is further employed as a convenient hanging system for banners of consumer advertisements and political parties. His works on paper have stemmed from his desire to create the running stitch on paper. These works are a testament to his skill with the fine squirrel haired brush. He has also used the Urdu text to construct his paintings. They appear as fine calligraphy, but upon closer inspection reveal a text composed of colloquial abuses. Yet another of Qureshi’s surprises. He brings the two threads of his art practice to fore. On the one hand, the fine traditional art of miniature painting where he has honed his skills in the miniature studio at one of the best art institute’s in the country, and on the other end his apprenticeship at a tailor’s workshop. The webs he weaves.