Lyari children dazzle art lovers


KARACHI, July 25: They may be living in an area where turbulence has become an unavoidable occurrence but nothing can throw a spanner in their works. It was a visual and cerebral treat witnessing art exhibits created by students of Lyari’s Kiran School and handmade products made by their mothers at a one-day exhibition at the Koel Art Gallery on Thursday.

The exhibits were on sale from midday to 5pm and art lovers loosened their purse strings for the exceedingly talented artisans, nay artists.

Though the products that the mothers of the children exhibited were no less interesting and garnered a lot of interest, it was the young artists’ efforts that proved more inspiring. Anyone who’s been to Lyari would be familiar with a gateway on which ‘Welcome to Lyari Town’ is written. Rehan Shah’s (studying in Grade 2) pencil sketch beautifully illustrated the entrance to his neighbourhood. It was befittingly put up as exhibit number one, as if the viewer was being formally welcomed to the show (read: Lyari).

The next artwork, by Aman Khan (Grade 2), was also thoughtfully placed because its subject was the famous Lyari ground. It’s a remarkable piece of art because the small drawing had all that the ground usually offers: sporting activity, floodlights, a crescent, clouds and stray animals. The innocence with which the picture was made had an air of artistic verisimilitude about it, which is a rare thing.

Sidrat-ul-Muntaha took the show to another level. It was hard to believe that the fourth grader could make a frame in which she could draw a cupboard, a chair, a wall clock and a dressing table and then impart a surrealistic look to them. Yes, the ambience that she created was dream-like. This young artist’s mind seems to be brimming with ideas.

For those who like a bit of abstraction in art, Hoor-e-Hina’s take on ‘Funny Man’ was quite intriguing. The child’s depiction of a bloated head, which embodied perhaps more than it should, supported by the rather feeble body was a striking work of imagination. Again, it is mind-boggling that she is in Grade 4.

Aman Khan demonstrated his versatility with his take of an apartment block. Yes, the congestion, the insularity, the closeness and the architectural mishmash that you can see in old Karachi precincts, all were there in one packed image.

M. Kazim’s eye-catching play with just two colours — green and black — depicting a man with a black top hat, looked like a plain representation of a particular concept, but it was not. The picture was funky and open to interpretation. It could be someone the child had seen or imagined, or wanted to see.

The exhibition was the result of a workshop conducted by Ahsan Jamal and Madiha Sikandar at Kiran School. The school organises their education after which these children are sent to better known schools. For example, Rehan Shah, M. Kazim and Aman Khan are currently studying at St Michael’s Convent, Sidrat-ul-Muntaha at Habib Girls School and Hoor-e-Hina at Happy Home School.

Other children whose artworks were equally impressive were Sehrish M. Ismail, Anees Mehboob Ali, Laraib Sohrab, Uzma Usman Ghani and Zunaisha Abur Rehman. According to Mr Jamal, the ages of the children are between four and 12.