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Minimalist artist’s work depicts her traumas, search for peace

by Farman Ali

Islamabad: An exciting exhibition of the latest paintings by a minimalist artist opened on Saturday at 8B2, a new gallery that has opened at Chak Shahzad, Islamabad, recently.

The exhibition, titled ‘La Perfection Imparfaite,’ (The Imperfect Perfection) showcases a new body of the Xandria Noir’s work during and post-pandemic lockdown in 2020 and 2021.

The paintings in acrylic on canvas are different from her previous work, in terms of depth and colour, and are an outcome of two years of personal experiences of a new environment after relocating to Islamabad from Karachi just before the Covid-19 outbreak, simultaneously embarking on a new life-changing relationship.

Xandria’s paintings depict the trauma she had been through during the outbreak of the pandemic. Her work is very specifically focused on yearning for peace.

Her simple and straight lines and geometric shapes depict her persona, minimalism that became popular in the late 50s after wars when artists began to deviate the traditional gestural art.

Syed Jamal Shah, a noted sculptor, musician, playwright and head of Hunerkada, described Xandria as a sensitive abstract impressionist artist with a flair for surface treatment.

“Her work is minimalist with an interesting visual vocabulary of significant sensitivity. Her recent surfaces are layered with a pallet of muted colours which are broken by conical shapes of contrasting colours which indicates a departure from her previous work and heading towards new possibilities or changes,” the former director-general of PNCA commented.  

She believes in the simplicity of life. “My work reflects what I am. I am a minimalist. I have a few pairs of clothes and sandals. I do not adore any kind of jewellery, or buy any decoration piece. I hate luxury and branded items and avoid going to the market unnecessarily for shopping unless it is an absolute need,” she told The High Asia Herald.

About the use of black and white colours in her paintings, she said: “Black and white helps me to express myself better, minimally. To me, life is black and white, very simple and basic. Simplicity brings happiness. Unfortunately, people make life and everything complicated by adding desires and expectations to it.”

The paintings were displayed on perforated bricks façade inside a secluded farmhouse of Chak Shahzad away from the noisy city enhancing the tranquillity of the ambience.

Born in Karachi, she initially practised abstract forms, floral compositions and calligraphy on wood, canvas, paper and pottery but after an eight-year-long gap, she resumed her work with large scale canvases emphasizing bold black strokes in conjunction with bright colours.

Some of her works from between 2013 and 2014 were inspired by the early 20th-century art movements but she left those inspirations behind and developed an individualistic style of work, which continues to evolve to date.

She was named one of Pakistan’s top 15 minimalist artists in December 2019 following her show ‘Moi et le Monde Imparfaite’ (Me and the imperfect world’ at the French Embassy in Islamabad.

“Art is an interaction to build a consensus on what beauty is all about. The imperfect world sends me back to Plato, for whom the only perfect world is one of concepts and ideas; this world is only a reflection of those ideas. And art is a reflection of the reflection,” she stated.

Xandria is working on some new ideas and plans to exhibit in December.

The current show will continue till October 7.


The High Asia Herald is a member of High Asia Media Group -- a window to High Asia and Central Asia

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