QAMAR ABBAS- Revealing Bodies of Fact

March 12, 2021
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Author: Beenish Ahmed Saraz

Qamar Abbas (b.1997) is one of the most talented and accomplished contemporary artist born in a small valley Oshikhandass in Gilgit Baltistan and currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in the department of Fine Arts at the National College of Arts, Lahore. He is working for a long time, participated in many art events and art competitions including Young Artists Exhibitions in Karachi Arts Council in 2014 and Hyderabad Arts Council in 2016, and won different awards at the national level. Also, arranged workshops in different schools of his native city during pandemic covid-19.

Qamar’s work deal with the complicated set of notations that convey his ideas about the things which concerned him and express his thoughts about subordinate power, authority, and state that are generally taken for granted or overlooked, and these circumstances not only bothered him a lot but also made him decide to work on these issues at the public level. Some of his works are very evident including political and social works that show Qamar’s major interest and reveal him as a keen observer and intellectual thinker who keeps his critical eye not only on his surroundings but dares to speak out and convert private discussion into the public. He is also concerned with the unsettled social-political structures and systems of the state.

Qamar’s work can be seen in a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, painting, digital art, and mix media boundless of size, method, and materials. His work consists of very convenient ordinary items and found objects that he later manipulates and reconstructs by deliberate actions in a way that becomes a very evident indicator that points out what we see and what actually is. The use of key objects like chair, currency, passport taken as subversive elements but unfolding ideas about the fixed set of beliefs, and undermining the power and authority of existing established system especially early constitutional government circumstances which are mostly overlooked but how certain structures are evident and obvious in not only in our state but also over the world.

One of Qamar’s digital series of work consisting of currency is his major mark making work for which he was awarded the best artwork award in Young “Artist’s Exhibition” by Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore in 2019. 

In this work, Qamar manipulates currency by using text and writing article number 6 from the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to share his idea about the power of currency that can buy any law and authorize any person with illegal rights to perform an illicit activity.  Here we can see a kind of knowledge and a kind of feeling we are comfortable with but there then exits a lot of things that fall outside of it so he is sort of bringing the things which are not morally proper and acceptable or not looked upon, and one does not feel comfortable to slip into these spaces.

The body of work he has produced and the stories he has collected from his surroundings inform you something about themselves, at one hand these elements are constructing the nation but at the same time, they are subverting it too.  Qamar’s work makes you think in the bracket of politics but his work talks about the politics in everyday life which we don’t look at but we are surrounded by and we do not respond to, maybe not in the most obvious way but overtime period we become the part of structures and system.

Here in the last, there is a quote by the most famous contemporary Indian artist Shilpa Gupta explaining the role of art and the artist as “Art is not one-stop pin to solve the world or it doesn’t seek to solve the problems but It is to share ideas and experiences about life with the viewer that an artist goes through and this is how someone starts to look this world in a slightly different way.”

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