Text | Sara Yawar
Visuals | Courtesy Sanat Initiative
A solo exhibition titled ‘You think you know me!’ by artist Irfan Gul Dahri was showcased at Sanat Initiative in Karachi on the 20th of December, 2019.
Born in Shahdadpur, Sindh, Dahri is a Lahore-based artist who holds a Master’s Degree from the National College of Arts and was awarded the Charles Wallace Visiting Artist Fellowship for 2013/2014 to study at Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London. He has been widely exhibited across Pakistan, UAE, Singapore, UK, USA, and India and has had the privilege of being granted multiple art residencies. He also participated in the Karachi Biennale, 2019.
Dahri’s recent body of work comprises of figurative paintings dedicated to the #MeToo movement, currently the most highlighted topic of fourth-wave feminism focusing on women empowerment. Dahri painted visuals of women distorted into eatables and mundane items, possibly a comment upon their rampant objectification. Using an earthy palette, the subjects are featured amongst bizarre landscapes, creating interesting yet mysterious combinations, leaving the viewer slightly unsettled.
The first and the most noticeable motif in Dahri’s work is the use of stuffed animals – in some visuals they are being clutched by the subjects while others have them simply as supporting elements. One of his visuals depicts a female figure clutching a stuffed bear while she is popping out of an oozing ice cream cone. The subject is dressed as a young girl but is visibly a matured adult; perhaps she is being portrayed as an object of lust or as a child who is a victim of abuse, as the artist’s reflection upon the #MeToo movement.
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About the author:
Sara Yawar is an artist, designer, and writer based in Karachi who graduated with a BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 2017. Since then, she has been writing for various magazines which include DAWN and ArtNow Pakistan.