Alar balar baway da, bawa kanak leyaway ga, bavi beh ke chatey gi, 100 rupaya watey gi. Artist-sculptor Khalil Chishti constructs a silhouette of a soldier using rusted iron and engraving this Punjabi lullaby onto it using Urdu calligraphy. Titled Sweet Dreams, the work is Pakistani artist Khalil Chishti’s response to a statement by a Pakistani general that Pakistani citizens sleep peacefully because of the Army. The work is one of the 10 installations that make his debut solo in India, Between The Lines, curated by Ashna Singh of Studio Art gallery. ‘Chishti transforms political turmoil, chaos of the past along with his personal struggles in these compelling visual experiences. He wants his art to comment on the world and develop a deeper understanding of our own experiences and it does exactly that’ In the exhibition, Chishti, who learned the art of calligraphy from Lahore’s master artist Sadeqain, also reflects on his childhood memories in the aftermath of the Partition and the political ups and downs in the country. “Chishti transforms the political turmoil, chaos of the past along with his personal struggles in these compelling visual experiences. He wants his art to comment on the world and develop a deeper understanding of our own experiences, and it does exactly that. The metal and calligraphy can get repetitive, but then there is so much background, story and depth in each work,” Ashna Singh says. The exhibit opens with the work Cause & Effect, where a small mosque at the bottom is overpowered by a huge cloud, it depicts the sounds of the azaan heard every morning. Here the artist comments on the importance of religion in our lives and how it overshadows the other beliefs and people decide not to question it. In another work, Ancestral Tales, a man is about to join a war, leaving his family behind. While in Desire & Desire II, the artist constructs a charging bull with Ghalib’s famous nazm, “Hazaaron khwaahishein aisi” engraved on it. Here, the artist underlines the desire and obsession to conquer, win and control. “These wars have led to the loss of innocent lives, escalated egos, personal struggles between good and evil, religious exploitations and instability,” Chishti says in a press statement. Published in Daily Times, February 22nd 2019.