Pakistani artist Amna Ilyas expresses the everyday truth of our lives with some extraordinary forms.
It's not easy to comprehend Amna Ilyas' art. Its myriad layers expressed in a complicated framework of acrylic and glass, which acquires a distinct expression with light falling on it, render it abstract. It is perhaps in a quest to find a new visual language for sculpture that Pakistani artist Amna resorts to such unusual forms which are on display at Gallery Seven Art in the Capital.
It is pertinent to point out at this juncture that the yearning to go beyond what is already there stems from, firstly, an individual's own deep-rooted desire, and secondly, from the energy and the support of the external factors. And in Amna's case it is the famed National College of Arts, Lahore, where she not only studied Fine Arts but also taught the subject.
‘Hers' comprises hundreds of papers cut, folded and suspended from fish wire and then hung from a ceiling hinting at a woman's vagina or ‘Ripples' in which the expression utilises reflected light on circular forms that loosely draw from landscape and the sea where each molecule of water has an effect on the next.
“When passing by, light moves on the transparent surfaces; it is fragile and transient, resembling delicate impermanent qualities such as in the balance of the natural world. To realise ‘Hers', I began to cut hundreds of papers to get the Woman inside me. I folded, suspended from fish wire, and hung them from the ceiling to conform to the angular geometry of the house inside women,” responds the artist over e-mail.
Further describing the art practice she delves into, Amna says, “I am trying to investigate the human condition in a broad sense. It is not so much recent events and worldly conflicts that interest me as the underlying behaviours and conditions that govern our personal lives and history alike but focus on the way reality is perceived and described, on prejudice of the mind and deception of the senses. I view art as a reflection, an expression, a systematic chaos of our deepest feelings, impressions, desires and experiences.”
There is another set of works, the light sculptures wherein she evokes the ‘illusionist expression'. “I found myself meditating on the layers, with the beauty and shiny light of the superficial upper society and supported by the dark underbelly of society... I was drawn to the duality of it, then realised it is a trinity with the subtle presence of the glass/mirror, reflective surfaces and the movement it creates.”
Transparency is another dominant feature of her work. In every piece, the artist longs to achieve this effect which is generated through the use of acrylic. “It was already transparent and thin. I just moulded it a little to get the desired form. I wanted to create the three dimensionality of the transparency, which was already there in the material. In my work it was just the installation which is making the ordinary into extraordinary.”
Amna has had four solo shows in her country and goes international with this show, which is on till November 4.