Blood Money opens at Indus Valley School


Blood and money are two nouns that are often treated as adjectives, both favourably and in a negative light. Together they form a formidable phrase, blood money. It, among other meanings, implies a particular amount of money given in compensation for a killing to the family of the person killed.
In Pakistan, over the years it has assumed horrendous proportions. Bloodbath (in the name of religion especially) and megalomania have had their devastating effect on society. This is the backdrop against which a group show titled ‘Blood Money’ opened at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture on Wednesday.
The first work of art placed right in the middle of the gallery is Anam Shakil Khan’s ‘Lavishly Bandaged’ (acrylic on canvas). It grabs the viewer’s attention because of the posture of the protagonist applying a plaster on a torn pair of jeans. The redness of the blood contrasting with the colour of the trousers is noticeable. But it is the posture of the character hiding his facial expression that does the trick for the artist.
Zain Ashir impresses both with craft and content. His ‘Diabolus Obscurari’ (ink, watercolour, graphite, pencil on paper) hints at the inherent darkness in the lust for power by showing the feral side of human existence.
The artwork has a lot going on in one frame and yet the lines do not go haywire. The artist has good control over his medium. There is likelihood that he is inspired by heavy metal stuff. Zabad Anwar opts for the tried and tested playing cards theme but infuses new life into it by imparting a fiendish look to it – ‘The Red Game 1 & 2’ (mixed media on paper). The king on the upper half of the card is holding a sword, whereas in the lower half he has a gun. Technically, his images are well developed and well thought-out. Habib Phulpoto does very well with ‘The Linkage 1-6’ (pencil and gouache on wasli) by highlighting greyness in a bloody situation. The syringes in his artworks signify medicinal quality. However, the shadows that they make paint a bigger picture. The exhibition will continue until Jan 19.