By Nadeem Zuberi, Weekly Pulse Magazine, September 09, 2013
The miniature paintings by Sobia Ahmed reflect her deep concerns and thoughts about the current situation of our country. As an artist she is more sensitive towards the society and thus uses her art to present her view point.
Sobia is a miniature arts lecturer at the National College of Arts, Lahore. In her first solo exhibition at Chawkandi Art Gallery, Karachi She discusses the gradual decline of ideology in our country through interplay of the past and the present identities representing the influences and interferences of the west in our socio-political structure.
Titled “Iss purchum ke saaye tullay hum aik hain…” the exhibition encompasses the whole nation’s questions which dominate their minds while leading their daily lives in uncertain conditions. She tried to play her role in understanding and let others understand how our subjugation by the British damages and hindered the growth of our culture and ideology.
Every mode of expression with a blend of bold motifs and strong colors creates a strong impression. She uses bright shades of green and red with ash white and black to give more expression to her works. The dark shadowy figures of arrows, crows and children give more depth to her work. She tries to portray as mush as possible in a single painting. It seems she is over flowing with the questions whose answers are yet to be found.
The titles of her paintings define her series very well – “New flag”, “Contract one’’, “who will lead my country I”, “who will be next, you or me’’, “who is who”, “Once upon a time there was a nation”, “Once upon a time in 1947”, “Aye watan payaray watan pake watan”.
Her works signifies the nature of power that continues to subjugate our nation through past to present time. In traditional miniatures style she paints faces of kings in dark hues with their hands converted into claws of crows or the head of king replaced with that of a crow having the king’s crown.
The paintings are conceptual rather direct and thus needs viewers to understand the paintings according to their translation of the motifs, symbols and figures accompanied by various hues of same colour which are also used as symbols in her works.
She uses symbols to identify various era and issues such as the use of the national flag, the country’s map, the Jinnah cap, government emblem, the moon and the crescent, the crows and the Mughals.
The title of her series is based on an old national song, which is a source of inspiration for her. Many feelings of countryman are attached to the said song. Thus her works takes the viewers on a journey, from the time of independence up until the current scenario.
Her work represent power-hungry leaders, colonial era, independence and current time in a very thought provoking manner. The title painting of the series “Iss purchum ke saaye tullay hum aik hain…” portrays a distortion of the national flag with four green areas having different shades of the color presenting our provinces. And the red color at the center of the flag where four shades meet is used to symbolize blood portraying the violence that has deteriorate our country’s peace since independence.