Text | Shanzay Subzwari
Visuals | Courtesy Canvas Gallery
A myriad of colours welcomed the audience as they stepped into Canvas Gallery recently. Reds, blues, greens and yellows infused into one another as they came together to paint portraits of female forms in various poses; some reclining, some hanging from the ceiling, some in dramatic poses. Some returned the viewer’s gaze intrepidly. With a cursory look at the space it was evident that the artist’s concerns veer around the female form, its struggles and its implications.
The artist is, a visual practitioner from Islamabad, Pakistan who holds a BFA from Boston University. With work ranging from large-scale oil paintings to mixed media installations, Qayum’s work has been exhibited both locally and internationally, including the U.S., the U.K and Japan. The show title ‘We Are All Mad Here’ is an allusion to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Lewis Carroll’s famous and well-loved series based on a little girl and her unusual adventures and experiences in an unknown land. Qayum equates Alice’s experiences to those of women in Pakistan, for whom life can sometimes feel a bit surreal and bizarre.