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Soraya Sikander's 'In, At and Around' visual experiences of memory and travel or exploring urban space

Soraya with her work
Calligraphic landscape
Landscape on black
Soraya Sikander's recent exhibition IN, AT AND AROUND opened to the public on 10th January 2013. The artist, a known name in the U.K, was exhibiting in her hometown after a gap of three years. The work was three dimensional and cutting-edge. Her interpretation of urban British life, and contemporary London landscape met with applaud by British art critics and Professors. Yet what remained most intriguing were three black paintings, not originally intended to be a part of the London diary exhibition. These Black landscapes were created in Karachi and were reflections of the city. Unlike the bright, bursting energy of these London paintings, these three unique, profound Karachi landscapes gave the viewer a haunting account of a bleak city and spoke of restraint beauty. 

There are the trees within the trees within the foliage and its corresponding roots, shoots, and the marshy subterranean swamp that holds us wrapped up in its enigmatic imagery. The dower gray, the sombre black hint of a mood that is mildly melancholic. Here, in the city of Karachi, Soraya Sikander experiences her journey inwards, yet, the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL influence is apparent on her canvases without being overbearing. It’s almost as if the bipolar effects of the two cities are reflected in the artworks that they mirror. Karachi the city of now, holds us down, its mood dower yet, we feel, that beyond lies both hope and an uncertain future.

Soraya Sikander’s work heralds a new approach. Her works may be both futuristic and cutting-edge however; she has been able to break through the barriers of known imagery and accepted art norms. Her current work has been received with kudos and seeing the red dots and the bustling activity in her exhibition one was able to determine that the work has sold and has been very well received. She has learnt to fly without fearing the perils of her solo flight. Her work has carved a special niche for herself in the contemporary art world. Her three Black landscapes were the most profound paintings in the exhibition - while the London diary paintings were upbeat account of a busy city. The artist has a knack for losing herself to the character of the city and interpreting its personality onto canvas and paper.

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