The picture shows Shahid Rassams The Short Story cover image. — Provided by the author


The picture shows Shahid Rassam’s ‘The Short Story’ cover image. — Provided by the author 

Shahid Rassam is an acclaimed contemporary painter and sculptor whose works often offer political commentary on current events.

His solo exhibition ‘The Short Story’, which is going to open at Sanat Initiative on Tuesday, February 28, is no exception. The exhibition features a series of paintings portraying monkeys with their reflections in mirrors, serving as controversial figures of the political scene.

Rassam’s paintings are not merely depictions of animals. Rather, they are thoughtful and purposeful pieces that carry significant meaning. Through his masterful strokes, the artist offers a nuanced critique of contemporary politics, highlighting the often distorted and self-serving perspectives of those in power.

In ‘The Short Story’, Rassam portrays monkeys staring into mirrors, examining their reflections with a curious gaze. This imagery is particularly relevant in today’s world, where the concept of self-reflection and introspection has become increasingly important in the face of global crises.

The monkey figures in Rassam’s paintings are controversial political figures, perhaps suggesting that those in power are sometimes no better than animals. Rassam’s work is a commentary on the political climate of our times, one that is fraught with power struggles and corruption.

Rassam’s use of mirrors is a potent symbol that underscores the central theme of his work. Mirrors are reflective surfaces, offering a distorted and sometimes unflattering view of the subject.

In Rassam’s paintings, the monkeys’ reflections are a reminder of the self-serving nature of politics, where individuals often pursue their interests above all else, often at the expense of others.

The artist has also commissioned portraits of world-famous leaders, writers and poets like Nelson Mandela, Benazir Bhutto, Justin Trudeau, Hazel McCallion, Salman Taseer, Hillary Clinton, Shahbaz Bhatti, Pope Francis, Malala Yousafzai, Jaun Elia, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi, Anwar Maqsood, Dr Abdul Salam, and Alice Munro to name a few.

‘The Short Story’ is a thought-provoking exhibition that invites viewers to consider the complexities of contemporary politics. Through his masterful use of colour and form, Rassam offers a poignant commentary on the current state of affairs, suggesting that self-reflection is an essential element in the pursuit of a more equitable world.

In conclusion, Rassam’s solo exhibit is an exceptional display of contemporary art that offers a critical perspective on current political events. The paintings of monkeys staring into mirrors, while simple in form, is a powerful commentary on the nature of power and self-interest. This exhibition is a must-see for anyone interested in contemporary art and the politics of our times.

The exhibition continues until March 9.


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