Urbanization in Pakistan – Technology and its adverse effects

Urbanization in Pakistan – Three artists address the adverse, beneficial and contradictory affects of technology
Urbanization is one of th biggest paradoxes that country like Pakistan face today -its growing citie and population contrib ute to the pressing need for development, which i countered by political insta bility, corruption and socia inconsistencies.
Three Lahore-based art ists, Sana Arjumand, Sab Khan and Amber Hammad address these contradic tions in their joint venture `The Urban Condition’ at th Poppy Seed Gallery in an ex hibition launched on May 19 Khan and Arjumand are both members of the faculty at th National College of Arts an Hammad is a Master’s in Art and Design candidate a the Beaconhouse Nationa University. Their work wil be up till June 5.

Amber Hammad’s work i an interesting take on vide games and virtual technol ogy. She addresses the debat about on-screen violence pro moting violence in the real world using digital prints.
“Time and space have developed a new meaning, which is virtual,” she says, “Yet living in a country like ours, the clash of these two realities tends not to be sublime.” She delves into the mix of reality and virtual reality.
Eventually the line between them is blurred our reliance on technology has developed into a ‘hybrid culture’. “For our generation, these ties go deeper than those that are perceived visually. Whether it is a tool or a technique, through technology we all develop, document, and render our thoughts.” Saba Khan designs wall hangings several-foot-wide.
The process of putting together these creations required the help of local craftsmen. She collaborates with them, making use of their expertise in her work as well. Her work features rhinestone-incrusted images of buildings and sequined generators to depict the current electricity shortages that plague the city.
“We face up to ten hours of load-shedding a day,” she says in her artist statement.
“This has severely damaged the economy. During power
cuts, local craftsmen can be seen idling outside their shops because they cannot afford to generate.“
Inspired by the vibrant embroidery on women’s cloth ing that is such an integral part of our culture, Khan tries to celebrate local craft while addressing common issues. The idea of collaborating craftsmen came to her while she was visiting a folk art museum in Mexico City. Her work addresses the fact that craftspeople spend their entire lives working on things they will never get to use. “These works also create a contradiction: the craftspeople made UPS batteries and generators for an artist, while not owning any themselves.“
Sana Arjumand’s oil paintings include rather eerie im ages of children and green beings. A closer look shows that the green figures are in fact supporting the children, protecting them. The artist turns to her belief in the divine help that she grew up on for inspiration. She tries to portray concepts of ‘noor’ (divine light) and ‘farishtay’ (angels). Unfortunately, The Express Tribune was unable to contact Arjumand for her own description of her work.

(Published in “Daily Express Tribune” on May 22, 2011)