Farrah M Adnan has brought to Nomad modern interpretations of miniature painting. Showcasing her collection ‘Waqt k Sath Sath,’ the Islamabad-based artist highlights current societal issues – from honour killings to political corruption – and touches upon feminist as well as national issues in dire need of reformation. Using mixed media on wasli, the artist creates a new world of symbolism and metaphors.At first sight her work appears rather conventional, but exploring the paintings more carefully, a realm of remarkable symbols reveals itself. With the help of these symbols, she addresses the most critical issues of our age.
Feminist issues, such as high rate of female illiteracy, are a major concern in Farrah’s work. But moving onto more mainstream national issues, the artist represents political corruption in a highly cynical manner. Portraying the leaders as marionettes being controlled by puppet masters, who are in reality the superpowers pulling the strings of a nation’s destiny. Such chaotic images leave an impact on the viewer.
“Farrah’s paintings are not whispers that can be easily ignored but are loud screams that force attention towards themselves,” said another artist Zarina Ijaz while viewing paintings at the art exhibition.
The collection is not what art enthusiasts might consider mainstream decorative art adorning the vast walls in the house of a collector — the artist merges aesthetics with morality and exonerates the social evils in dire need of reformation. Using cut-outs from newspapers and embodying them into her artwork, the artist symbolizes the significance of the media and its positive and negative roles played in the reformation of these issues.
A recurring motif is the unusual tree, with strong roots but leafless branches. Like a silent sentinel or a faithful witness, it is always there. A pearl, still nestling in it protective shell, appears together her with self portrait – also serving as an emblem for women in general. Through the pearl, she depicts the Islamic connotation of female beauty, which is precious like a pearl but must be hidden well and difficult to find through the naked eye. She leaves the interpretation up to the viewer, to analyze whether this symbol is positive or negative.
“She has the power to grip you, shock you and surprise you all at the same time and then let you get involved in the painting as if it was a discussion and your view was the most important,” added Ijaz, the artist.
The Express Tribune