Memories of landscapes, centred in the mind, body, soul or physical surroundings reflect the deep rooted needs and desires of the human psyche. Our collective past embedded in antiquity evokes nostalgia across time and space. As Simon Schama puts it, ".....landscape is the work of the mind. Its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock."
Thus landscape is as much a visible, touchable "real" construct as it is in a flight of the imagination. It is from this standpoint that we view works that deal in the very physicality of urban spaces, bricks and mortar, rooms, walls, windows, words, mark-making, even modes of travel; all the trappings of our existence. But there also exist parallel narratives, using less tangible means of construction, that seek to communicate and understand. The works are laced with humour, with pathos and underline the human need to communicate.
When landmarks that have stood and endured are razed to the ground, when our story is punctuated with gaps, it creates a dissonance and a need to evoke the past; to link our present to it, to take our present onwards into the future. Continuity becomes the touchstone of our conscious world. Earth transforms into a "Garden of Earthly Desires" to misquote Hieronymous Bosch. The experience of close interaction of body, space and time is one that gets woven into our ongoing cultural experiences which in turn become myths that form the basis of fable and folklore.
Kasbe kamal kun keh aziz e jahan shavi, ( Excel in yourself so that you create a beautiful world ) is an invocation to history, to land, to people, to places forgotten and wisdom ignored. It charts the eternal struggle of humankind, submerged, re-worked and ultimately created anew. The philosophy of Sa'adi is the inspiration for this exhibition.
National College of Arts, Lahore.