Between the Lines

Khalil Chishtee

Feb 2019

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Ancestral Tales
142”x 55” X 3” | Rusted Metal | 2019

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Cause & Effect
96”x86”x 3”| Rusted Metal | 2019

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Claim
63” X 35”x 3” | Rusted Metal | 2019

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Desire
72” X 50” X 3” | Rusted Metal | 2019

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Desire –ii
72” X 65” X 3” | Rusted Metal | 2019

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Definition
Metal | 63 X 22” X 3” | 2019

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This Is Not My Religion – II
36” X 4” X ¼” | Rusted Metal 2019

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Shield
24” X 24”x 3” | Rusted Metal | 2019

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Sweet Dreams
63” X 27” X 3” | Rusted Metal | 2019

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Sweet Dreams – II
63” X 27” X 3” | Rusted Metal | 2019

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History Is Nothing But Scars On My Motherland
70” X 45” | Laser Scoring On Acid Free Paper | 2019

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History Is Nothing But Scars On My Motherland-II
84” X 27” | Laser Scoring On Acid Free Paper | 2019

Between The Lines

“We need leaders, not in love with money but in love with justice, not in love with publicity but in love with humanity”. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Whether it is Social media on our smart devices or the view outside our windows, or then the television throwing news at us, where we don’t even know the validity or authenticity of the content, all these shout out at us with compelling images on a daily basis.

When masses know the verses of Ghalib through the musical compositions of Jagjit Singh, and history books can easily be replaced by hollywood or bollywood’s versions. When dictators shamelessly decorate their public meetings with songs and slogans of activists and rebellious poets. When a peaceful religion’s country of origin displays a weapon on its flag, then, we must know that the idea of “love” has been replaced with the greed of “interest”.

“At that time it is effortless to be lost in these translations. Obvious unjust recorded in recent history and with almost every state’s attempt to change it, encourages me to construct my images by using words and verses behind these visuals.” Khalil Chishtee.

Khalil is exhibiting an artful twist of irony in his politically driven pieces displaying exotic calligraphy. Chishtee, a figurative sculptor from Lahore, Pakistan, encourages his audience a twofold experience, deciphering the work from the perspective of visual neutrality while also suggesting the importance of understanding the text . Khalil Chishtee’s works are an effort to disjoin from the personal horrors of his inner conflicts regarding identity and conditioning. Khalil transforms the political turmoil, chaos of the past along with his personal conceptual struggles into aesthetically compelling visual experiences.

Chishtee compels his audience to reflect on how the human mind indulges in imagination, solving problems, deciphering masked codes, its constant obsession with reading “between the lines,” which has stretched to such a level that it often misses the elephant in the room – the real meaning. But surprisingly when it comes to preconceived ideas or accepted concepts, then even the sharpest minds behave prosaic at the same time, following the traditional.

Visually when a form as aesthetically graceful as Urdu or Arabic is seen, one is so enthralled by the softness and appeal of the fluidity of the movement that the content is often not even decoded, thus loosing the content to the richness of the form. Is the content not being interpreted due to a lack of understanding or the lack of curiosity to dive into the truth? Is it to keep the inner peace or not to address the internal struggles? Is it to avoid probing for answers due to the fear of accepting, recognizing or acknowledging the truth?

The past will always try to define, mold, govern or rule us. The assumption that there will still be someone to blame – people, situations, environment, religion or then one’s own conditioning. Surprising how we disregard our shortcomings, our imperfections and the repercussions of our actions. Where “Cause And Effect” is overlooked and the concept becomes greater than compassion, humanity, and goodness.

How long are we not going to take responsibility for our actions and failings?

When are we ever going to read Between the Lines?

“Read Between the Lines. Then meet me in the silence if you can.” May Sarton

Curated by Ashna Singh, Studio Art, New Delhi