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Wardha Shabbir at Art Dubai 2022

Wardha Shabbir’s presentation at Art Dubai 2022 continues to trace a journey that started with her study of the classical form of miniature painting from the Pahari School, to her installation ‘Way To Paradise’ at Lahore Biennale 2018, to her recent solo ‘Green Matter’, at Canvas Gallery, Karachi, with whom she has come to Dubai. Having grounded herself in what is a defining classical art form for South Asia, Wardha speaks to the highly contemporary landscape she finds herself encased in, be it socially, politically or personally, through these refined paintings that feel all at once warmly familiar and completely distinct.

Wardha visually extends notions of a journey with her ‘Zig Zag’ forms, which take on an increased heft, mimicking the idea of hedges and boundaries set down in ‘Way To Paradise’. I am particularly drawn to these blocks that not only demonstrate her effortless technical ability (look at the attention to detail and clever compositions) but act as conceptual metaphors. Wardha fixates on the idea of a map or journey, which has applications in spiritual, practical and technological contexts, and reminds us of the complex layers that make up daily life- particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic where we see increased blurrings between the different facets of our lives.

By bringing artworks that show her artistic growth (particularly for audiences following Wardha from her earlier years as an artist) Wardha and her gallerist Sameera of Canvas Gallery are entering the expanded field of the art fair. Their booth moves beyond existing simply as a commercial arena into a realm for showcasing talent, experimental ideas and creating space for critical discourse. It helps that Wardha’s works are visually so striking (heightened by the juicy palettes that are fast becoming a signature) that they draw in visitors for a second look, allowing her thoughts to pour over them. Presentations such as these are especially valuable in 2022 when we are beginning to see large-scale returns to in person events- and a desire for more from art audiences.

Text by Zena Khan.

Artworks by Wardha Shabbir courtesy of Canvas Gallery.

Title: Markings of a Memory
Medium: Gouache on Acid Free Paper Size: 10 x 12 Inches
Year: 2022

Title: From One Edge To Another
Medium: Gouache on Acid Free Paper Size: 10 x 12 Inches
Year: 2022
Title: A Loop
Medium: Gouache on Acid Free Paper Size: 12 x 10 Inches
Year: 2022
Title: The Shadow As Real
Medium: Gouache on Acid Free Paper Size: 10 x 12.5 Inches
Year: 2022
Title: A Continuous Moment
Medium: Gouache on Acid Free Paper Size: 20.5 x 12.5 Inches
Year: 2022
Title: The Politics Of Curation I
Medium: Gouache on Acid Free Paper Size: 20 x 12.5 Inches
Year: 2022
Title: The Politics Of Curation II
Medium: Gouache on Acid Free Paper Size: 20 x 12.5 Inches
Year: 2022
Title: The Logic of Water
Medium: Gouache on Acid Free Paper Size: 19 x 36 Inches
Year: 2022

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