March 09 – May 13, 2017
Lala Rukh’s first solo exhibition in Dubai entitled sagar comprises of a collection of enigmatic photographs of the sea that make her meditations on the nature of time and transience palpable. As a parallel photographic practice, they locate Lala’s travels between years 1992-2005 and extend her better known drawing oeuvre such as ‘River in an Ocean’ series, 1992 also on display. The titles in the photographic sets mark sites across Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Burma where as though a seafarer traversing with a lens, the artist has stopped to take stock. Almost serendipitously, there is quietness as we sense the boatman’s oars gliding over the waters of Lake Inle or the River Irrawaddy. Lala captures the setting sun, registers the raising moon rays playing catch with the shifting tide. She condenses yet again life and time into the occasional vignette of a seagull diving for fish. Sets of photographs in Pegasus Reef , 1996 look like the lines that score our palms. In Beruwela 3, 1992 the viewer apprehends in the horizon two figures perched on rocks that one imagines are lovers. In Irrawaddy x, 2005 the silhouette of a lone man on his boat is possibly a fisherman. Lala uses her lens as an undistracted viewer who sees both time and immutability joined in the invisible arch on which life is suspended. In their evocation of tidal movements these works touch up the philosophical question of being and nothingness creating a poetic portrayal of ebb and flow that is life.
Mariah Lookman, Colombo 2017.
About the Artist
Lala Rukh b.1948, Lahore, Pakistan / Lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan
Lala Rukh studied art at Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan (MFA) and University of Chicago, Chicago, USA (MFA). She taught for 30 years at Punjab University, Department of Fine Art and the National College of Arts where she set up the MA(Hons) Visual Art Program in the year 2000. After retiring from teaching, Lala Rukh devotes her time in her studio in Lahore and to activism. She is amongst the foremost feminist activist artists of South Asia.