‘Excavations’: Searching for ancestral roots | Lahore, Pakistan
We are happy to publish the catalog of an extraordinary exhibition by Farrukh Adnan at the Rohtas 2 Gallery in Lahore. His search for roots takes him in a journey that moves between archaeology, geography, and ancient myths.
My studio practice on historical research centered on my ancestral roots in ancient “Tulamba”, located in Southern Punjab, Pakistan. I am interested in archeological work that explore personal memory of space/place, collective historical events, and cultural depictions of nature in the context of present times. It is revealing of aspects of history which have a profound impact on our contemporary culture today. This engages in discussions relating to how we interpret a space within its context and how context itself builds sometimes out of the “syntax”. I believe that archeology connects us to the current situations of the world.
We stand here in the depths of despair, but there is still hope. Our feet are close together but we are spiraling down. Is it the quicksand or is the mind playing tricks again? Whatever may be the case the feeling is intoxicating. The earth, it seems, has finally opened up a crater of a mouth to swallow us in. But we are no Alice and this is not a rabbit hole that leads to Wonderland. We are in the ruins of Tulamba; an ancient city that lives beneath the expanse of the new one. It is Atlantis, but instead of the water surmounting a thousand years of culture there are heaps of sand and clay coming together to form giant vestibules that have stood the test of time. Is it a life size vivarium, where giant anthills have been dissected out of their underground facility and put on display for an observer that is part of the experiment?
Many believed the old city was not a produce of man’s mental faculties but was the construct of a deity that must have ruled the earth before time itself. Some believe that poltergeists of immeasurable strength and power built a residency for their kind. Others who believe in fables of giants roaming the land who built this with their own hands plastering their confines with gregarious mounds of sand and clay. There are some truths to all of these stories, but none declare an aphorism of a human civilization. There are physical clues that chide the fairy-tales attached to the land. In these towering sculptures cooking utensils are found that can be classified as archaic but can serve their purpose in the present time. There is a prevalent air of human presence that never lost its scent to those who hounded for it.
Our journey begins where human storytellers believe in fantastical reasons to mask the reality attached to the place and an unfathomable destiny that is the essence of fantasy itself. We started off with an exploratory process of the locale. A newer, realer city had developed around these ruins to cater to the needs of the modern man. A necessary part of our journey was to create a stencil for an artistic expression that could speak volumes without abandoning its goal.
The use of cartography was a tool best suited for our exploration. The ideation of mapping in its most empirical form pushed through unforeseen labyrinths of context mincing out a worthy expression of time, space, organization and network. The fruit that bore was like the prodigal son of the land creating a language that would soon realize into a repository of torn out pieces of parchment that defined the region’s cultural origin. Our method became an obsession to draw out an origin from the blood of the latest generation and injecting the streets with it. The forefathers smiled upon us for they had never intended to part with us.
The aim of my art practice with research remains to be psycho geographical, while spiritual element has shifted from memory to symbols. During research and production new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work.
Scroll down to look through the 'Excavations' catalog:
Farrukh Adnan lives and works in Lahore. He received his Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2009. and a Master’s Degree in Visual Arts from the Beaconhouse National University. He teaches Photography at National College of Arts, and Drawing and Graphic Design at the National College of Business Administration, both in Lahore.
Exhibitions: Excavations, Distorted Paradigms, Enigmatic Spaces, Museum of Wasted Love, Unfolding Matters, Art for Education, Who is Afraid of Art?, Lines in the Sand, Voice Breaking Boundaries: Migration and Movement.