We live in a time characterized by Extremes, Polarity, Split and Division. The perceptions of the divide entrenches so deep in our mind that it handicaps our senses, vision and feelings. Arts and literature remain two mediums, challenging our perceptions and helping us transcend the divide. Rashid Rana is a torch bearer of modern artists interested in exploring the duality of the divide.
Rana Rashid’s ‘Labyrinth of Reflections’ opened to Karachites on 17th of February. The date coincided with the closing day of KLF, making it a difficult choice for people interested in both events. Mohatta Palace gallery’s floor plan has been reconfigured totally to meet the requirements of Rashid’s artwork.
Rana’s work has been arranged chronologically, showing artist’s evolution and shifting priorities over time. Oil, Acrylic and traditional mediums paved the way for composite photomontages in which a macro image is constructed out of countless micro images of opposite subjects. The Duality became a hallmark of Rana’s future undertakings. Bollywood stars’ portraits made out of ordinary lahori faces, An american war hero created out of tragic Afghan and Iraq war mosaics, A view of calm sea concealing pollution, A heritage site made out of its own micro views throughout the day, A beautiful red carpet where the colour is added by the blood. And so on. Nothing is what it seems.
He has experimented further. From 2D to 3D. From simple illustrations of newspaper, books and household stuff to a 12 feet or so tall/wide cube. Let’s talk about the cube a little. Tall skyscrapers with micro views of slums go with the duality featuring again and again in the exhibition, but interestingly Rana has added another layer of complexity to the thought here. Curved mirrors are used across the cube which conceal the view from two angles showing viewer his own reflection while from other two angles, the hidden message is revealed.
Rana gives you food for thought. You take a piece of his work with you when you go back. You start noticing duality. Jamhoriat ki aamrana ravish mein, Mohallay ke Maulana ki fidwyana fironiyat mein, In reactionary constituents of Progressive thought. And Much more.
The show continues throughout the year. Mohatta Palace Gallery is open from 11:00 am to 6:00 p.m. seven days a work except for Mondays. Photography is allowed outside the Museum but not inside. Please don’t bring children along. They make noise and touch the artwork. Other Random Facts: The souvenir shop is disappointing. Gallery staff themselves make a lot of noise.