review - unveiling visions

'unveiling visions', the exhibition currently being held at the national art gallery is a triumph of the will. it is truly remarkable, firstly, that people have come together to hold an event of such scale in this troubled year. it adds value to the city, this is indisputable, regardless of how you evaluate the art within.

inside the gallery the controlling hand of the curator is mercifully absent, allowing for a free flow of canvasses whose sheer number is joyously overwhelming. there is much to pause and reflect on while almost none of the artworks make great demands on the viewer.

some works display a degree of fluency and a good grasp of technique - like redhan, these elements help create beguiling surfaces. they are honest depictions of island idylls, majestic fauna, and the idealised human form that exist as reality in the mind of the painters.

several paintings also show a keen understanding of the white gaze - unsurprising as tourism is at the crux of this archipelago's economy.

this is art that eschews the deeper, aggressive, unwelcome emotions for more palatable fare – there is an unbridled enthusiasm for an abstracted, stylised nature – you could argue that a particular vision of islands, nature and humans is unveiled in these paintings.

there is merit in producing art for the faint of heart – it is easy to imagine most of these exhibits offering solace and relief to those troubled by our modern anxieties, especially if displayed in hospital corridors and in waiting rooms. this is art that is safe, serene, unpretentious, it is art for those who can appreciate idealised depictions of our geography and our inhabitants. it is for those who ask little because their lives are not devoted to aesthetics with its theories and judgment, all they desire is simplicity so that their tired minds can grasp and marvel at the glossy shimmer on the surface.

fathimath shakoor