Chahine Khosravi, Owais Husein, Halim Al Karim, Imran Channa, Saad Qureshi and Afshan Daneshvar are the six artists hailing from the Indian subcontinent, Iran and Iraq who are tackling new forms of visual perception. Engaging techniques such as intangibility, ambiguity and a lack of focus in their artistic approaches, their works discuss and offer insight into geopolitical concerns and how the divisions between cultures and territories exist in states of prolonged and/or discontinued unity. Works by these artist will be displayed at the Farjam Collection, a privately owned art collection featuring international works from diverse time periods. It features quarterly exhibitions showcasing art from the collection alongside educational programmes in tandem with the current show.
Touching on notions of identity, memory, past, displacement and migration, the collective body of works comprising Out of Focus/Union have been brought together under a curatorial desire to have them dialogue with each other, as well as to provoke the visitor to consider what constitutes a border, and how definitively it can exist. Channa presents a monochrome work on paper entitled Memories referencing the partition between India and Pakistan but with a peaceful proposition. Husein’s Inventory of History, Crucible of the Self speaks to migration and displacement and the weight of emotional baggage creating a hybrid of experience as migrants assimilate into new environments.
Qureshi’s large red triptych – one of two works he has on display – is made of ashes and aims to convey how memory and past are anchored into environments and places and contests the idea that placelessness equates to a lack of identity. Al Karim’s black-and-white photograph questions concepts of home through femininity and its simultaneous oppression and elevation. Khosravi’s Chess Players series explores geopolitics through strategic tenets of chess and the overarching desire to gain power; while Daneshavr’s Nafs (“self” or “soul” in Arabic, Urdu and Farsi) acts as the exhibition’s unifier, using its shared linguistic heritage to imply that despite arbitrary boundaries, universality perseveres.