Past Present Parallel

works of Karachi University Graduates
Curated by: Mahreen Zuberi
28 JULY, – 10 August, 2015
If a man were limited to two dimensions instead of three—–if, for instance, he lived on a sheet of paper as a picture does, he would know of nothing outside the sheet. A race of men might live in every one of a pile of a million sheets of paper, and it would be physically impossible that they should ever communicate or even be aware of the possibility of each other’s existence, though the distance separating any two would be less than the thousandth of an inch. So, three-dimensional universes may be packed closely together in four-dimensional space, and may be surrounded—–almost touched—–by myriads of beings like ourselves, of whose existence we are unconscious and into whose sphere we cannot come.

Arthur E Bostwick
From Four-Dimensional Space, (ex) New Science Review 1896

Past, Present, Parallel brings together a group of artists who bend time through their artistic processes.

Giving us a glimpse into the future, Hasan Raza creates urban dystopian landscapes. His structures resemble dense apartment complexes that the Karachites are already getting quite accustomed to. Built one on top of the other, on closer inspection reveal structures constructed from discarded scales (rulers).

Ritual purification is a characteristic associated with many religions. The idea is to wash away any impurities (physical or moral). Meticulously washing photographs from her childhood, Batool Zehra ritualistically erases the past. Yet leaves behind some clues possibly in an attempt to create an alternate present around them.

Batool Mandvi orchestrates a past that existed…or did not. Letters, conversations, thoughts spin a tale woven from fragments of reality and imagination. Using photographs collected from old family albums, she uses her fondness of story telling to travel back into time to deliver letters that were never written, start conversations that were never had, and catch glances that were never stolen.

An occupant of a rickshaw ride that keeps moving forward but is stuck in an infinite loop with no apparent destination, Zehra Almas’s work draws from the political landscape of the city. The streets of Karachi become the subject of her investigation. Taking us to the darkest of Karachi alleys, the artist attempts to shroud our sense of threat, by adorning the scene with festive music and decorative lights.

Sarah Hashmi collects memories extracted from objects that once belonged to someone. Through interviews and research she follows the memories of the owner and maps the journey of that memory, into the present.