AKRAM DOST, Without title 2019, OLA Galleri & Ateljé. Foto: Karen Olavarria
(UN)BLESS YOUR SOUL
3 May - 23 June 2019
Akram Dost was born in the Province of Quetta in Balochistan, Pakistan. He studied arts at the University of Lahore and today he is Chairman of the Univeristy of Balochistan and cofounder of the faculty of arts. The Faculty of Arts at the University of Balochistan is a very particular one because it is not only dedicated to the teaching of arts and crafts but to preserve them, particularly those collected and acquired in the region throughout the years. Here is where we find the legacy of Akram Dost as a the starring of traditional arts and crafts in modern times.
The region of Balochistan has been hit by war, terrorism, invasion and earthquakes and its population experienced the lack of basic human rights. People flee to other places to get food, health care or education. Ballochistan women in particular are the most vulnerable and exposed in the society, suffering different types of violent abuse and many times dying during childbirth.
Akram Dost also fell victim to the injustice, grief and inequality of his society since childhood. His art is an outlet of this pain, which reflects the suffering and the ills of society on his canvases and wood work, following the traditional carving methods of his ancestors.
At the Exhibition ”(un)Bless your soul”, the spectator bears witness to a type of human condition far from the habitual, which opens up the senses to a deep understanding of the artist’s anger and despair. The portraits of women show faces hidden in different spectrums of dark shades. The backgrounds and the human characters represent Dost’s landfolk and give his works a certain status of historical documentation of his reality and that of the people in
The thick relieves of the background under every painting are made from traditional weavings that provide linkage, symbolism and hints to the rich and diverse culture of Dost’s land. He uses only brown tones, ochre, greens and blues with golden sunburns.
This exhibition is much more than a mere collection of art works; it's a mausoleum of nameless people that have disappeared throughout time. An act of sensitivity towards the human condition, wishful women, sad eyes that beg for understanding and caring. A standby in time and space that gives traditional art a chance at survival and opens a window to a contemporary movement with Akram Dost as pioneer.