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29 Nov 2011

New works on show at Green Cardamom by Muhanned Cader and Lala Rukh

Muhanned Cader
Nightscapes, 2011
Gouache and ink on paper
Dimensions vary
Photo credit Vipul Sangoi

Scripted across the Indian Ocean, Muhanned Cader and Lala Rukh
Green Cardamom


Scripted across the Indian Ocean Muhanned Cader and Lala Rukh 10 Novemeber - 13 January 2012 Tuesday - Friday 12pm - 6pm or by appointment

Liza Kenrick
+44(0)207 402 7125

Green Cardamom
5a Porchester Place
London W2 2BS

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Scripted across the Indian Ocean presents two contrasting approaches to art making – one, strategically indulgent and laboured; the other, restrained to the point of being barely perceptible – both contextualising very particular times in the political histories of two countries: Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Born a generation and an ocean apart, Lala Rukh (b. 1948, Lahore) and Muhanned Cader (b. 1966, Colombo), have produced new works brought together for this exhibition by guest curator Mariah Lookman.

Lala Rukh and Cader met in 2002, when Lala Rukh (then Director of the Visual Arts Masters programme at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore) invited Cader to the NCA for an artist-in-residence programme. Prior to this meeting, the artists had each independently created a body of work that bore remarkable similarities to each other: Lala Rukh's River in an Ocean series (1992-93) and Muhanned Cader's Nightscapes (1999). In this exhibition, Lookman has invited both artists to revisit these bodies of work and continue their earlier (albeit unwitting) conversation.

Cader's work for this exhibition consists of seascapes, comprised of paintings on wood, collages and works on paper. In his characteristic fashion, he removes the rectangle that frames most depictions of the 'landscape' – a political gesture for the artist that speaks to the tradition of framing painted landscapes of lands owned (or, in a colonial context, conquered). Casting aside the rectangular frame he uses the shapes of objects found on the beach, often washed up by the ocean – rocks, shells, wings, feathers and carcasses of creatures. In this exhibition he also works on wood to realise his works as objects – each work on wood playing with scale, colour, light, sheen and tactility, exploring painting as a medium itself.

Lala Rukh's works appear, at first glance, to be relentlessly opaque and almost impenetrable. Well known as a feminist activist and a hugely influential art teacher, her own art practice remains relatively less known. Her graphite marks on black carbon paper are subtle, poetic interventions skirting at the fringes of visual perception. Almost daring the viewer to keep looking.

Contained within the night skies and beneath the hanging lights stretching the horizon across the river, glimmering through the reflection of the moon over the vast expanse of the ocean, the works in the exhibition speak of a reservoir of events, stories, and links with history and place. Connected by formal considerations, when viewed together, each artist's practice also comes to contextualise the other's. The works in the exhibition take a sideways glance at the political backdrop of their making, updating the perspective of the turmoil and violence in both societies during the 1980s and 1990s to present-day realities. In curating this exhibition, Lookman not only revisits a past body of work to find new meanings but creates a space for contemplation, review and reassembly.

Muhanned Cader

Muhanned Cader b.1966 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Lives and works between Oxford and Colombo.
BA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA (1994)
Kendall College of Art & Design, Michigan, USA (1990)

Selected solo exhibitions include Casting Light, Saskia Fernando Gallery, Colombo (2010); Drawing Sculpture, Barefoot Gallery, Colombo (2007); Landscapes, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq Gallery, Lahore (2004); Birth of Un-Cool, Vibhavi Gallery Colombo (2003). Selected group exhibitions include Drawn from life, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria (2011); Visual Responses During the War, Lionel Wendt & Harold Pieris Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka (2010); Art Asia Pacific Triennial One-Year Drawing Project Brisbane, Australia (2009); Colombo Art Biennale: Imagining Peace, (2009); Borderland, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London (2009); One-Year Drawing Project, Devi Foundation, New Delhi and University of Toronto Art Centre (2009); Recent Developments in Contemporary Sri Lankan Painting, Gallery Art Korner | Barefoot Gallery, Bezuidenhoutseweg 407, The Hague, NL (2008); Singapore Biennale: Belief, (2006).

Lala Rukh

Lala Rukh b.1948 in Lahore, Pakistan. Lives and works in Lahore.
MFA, University of Chicago, USA (1976) and Lahore, Pakistan (1970)

Solo exhibitions include Drawings, Koel Gallery, Karachi (2010); Works: 1989 – 2004, Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery, Lahore and VM Art Gallery, Karachi (2004); Drawings, Galerie Hildebrand, Klagenfurt, Austria (1981); Photographs, Maison de la Culture, Rennes, France (1978). Selected group exhibitions include Non Aligned, Barefoot Gallery, Colombo (2011); New Art from Pakistan, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York (2010); Good Looking, Grey Noise, Lahore (2009); Let's Talk, Greynoise and the jamjar, Dubai, UAE (2008); Artist's Voices. Body, Amin Gulgee Gallery, Karachi (2006); One 2 One, 58 Artists, Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore (2005); Let Peace Prevail: Exhibition of Women Artists, V M Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan (2002); Pakistan: Another Vision, Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London (2000); 9th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh (1999; Open Wounds, Eicher Gallery, Delhi, India (1997); The Book of Lies: Steirischer, Herbst Festival, Graz, Austria (1996).

Mariah Lookman

Mariah Lookman is an artist, writer and a D.Phil. candidate in fine art at the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, University of Oxford. She is a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL and studied painting at the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore. She has been a lecturer at the NCA in Pakistan, and at the University of Moratuwa and the School of Design in Sri Lanka.