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  • Writer's picturemanankathuria

Shrine Empire enshrines Hostile Witness; a thought-provoking exhibition by Baaraan and Moonis Ijlal

Hostile Witness by Baaraan Ijlal
Hostile Witness

Exquisite, Raw and Real. These three words are so powerful, for me they sum up the exhibition. Bikaner House surprised me with this exhibit and all thanks to Shrine Empire for hosting it and Baraan and Moonis Ijlal for sharing it to the world. Your contribution in art has impacted me, and so many other people.

There’s something unique in every artist. The reason I visited the exhibition was the framing of the artwork, it was interesting. Who knew I would get so many surprises, it was a treasure. I walk up the stairs and find myself in so many stories. It made me witness sufferings, situations, struggles of so many places and people. The use of Urdu was the icing on the cake, it absorbed me. The artworks took me from Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Banaras, Grant Road, Bombay, short stories in Urdu, to an excerpt from the poetry, Peddler of Dreams.

I saw it through the eyes of Zagh-e-Zaman, the crow woman, Jaabir, the oppressor with a head of a gun & Peshrau, the early travellers, now extinct. There’s mystery in every artwork. Baraan has captured the places and painted upon them, keeping the history intact, the human stories alive. The quality of showcasing past in the present scenario is beyond appreciation.

A long hall, with sounds of footsteps of people and ‘Sab theek hai, Sab theek hai, Sab theek hai’ playing in the background, made me live the moment.

Hostile Witness by Baaraan Ijlal

Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet the artists, but I’m still full of questions wondering their process of storytelling, which is unique and beyond words.

‘ye ek nayaab tohfa hai, duniya ke liye’

A photo in front of this iconic masterpiece, kept in a hall, all empty with a bench in between, is a forever living memory for me.

Thank you once again, Shrine Empire, Baaraan Ijlal and Moonis Ijlal for bringing this to the eyes of the world.

Follow me on Instagram: Thank you for following my journey :')


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