Artist Ahmer Farooq’s painting exhibition was held at the Sanat Gallery in Karachi on Tuesday. Ahmer’s current body of work revolves around, ‘Forbidden Love’. While addressing the media, the artist said, “I turn my gaze away from the oppression of the woman to that of the lover(s). I wish to highlight the existence of courtship and extra-marital ‘affairs’ in an overtly conservative Islamic country where marriage is the only accepted form of intimacy.” This collection underscores the web of emotions, bonds and tensions that tie couples together, as they are crippled from the outside. Bound to secrecy, a lover is seen as a shadow figure. The artist positioned figures on the canvas to trigger emotions from shame, fear, insecurity, self-loathing and loneliness to longing, passion, love and desire. Using the Urdu language, its script and form to frame the figures, he contextualised his work within the local community. Incorporating shapes, letters, and words as incomplete sentences he aimed to project the incomprehensibility of the relationships from the outside – fully known only to the lover and the beloved – and equally the incompleteness of the relationships that long to be but are never accepted by the outside. According to the artist, his artwork reflects colours, accessories, and motifs act like mirrors reflecting emotions and contexts: vibrancy depicting beauty or chaos, the intangible silver and gold reflecting light shining through the souls, white evoking void, red exciting passion, dark reflecting hopelessness. While materials like glitter spark excitement, the famous Pakistani truck art motifs highlight the presence of these relationships across all classes. Published in Daily Times, June 29th 2018.