The Grey Areas

Written by Lariab Ahmad | Visual Artist, Entrepreneur, Writer, Curator, Mentor

On the artistic experiences of  Anusha Anum

Now pursuing a Bachelor’s degree from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Anusha Anum’s works are an explicit reflection of the restrictions that characterize the human way of life; her body of work interrogates the articulation of humans in a civilization. The visuals comment on the conceptual, contextual, and illustrious grey areas in which human nature meets the animalistic nature, outside the standard parameters of morality set by society. Governed by desire, survival, curiosity, and confusion, these grey areas are more involved in our behaviors than we know them to be.

She further elaborates on the fundamental struggle between the two sides that can seep into our journey of self-reflection and awareness. Her work neither applauds nor condemns the relation between human and animal psychology; it rather exposes the underlying tensions, dense variations, and perspectives on the relativity of the primal relationship that largely remains unaddressed. Taking these categories of nature as reference points, Anusha is exploring the biological, ethological, evolutionary, and conflicting discourses that eventually translate into distinct patterns visible in our identity – individually and collectively.

Although the metaphors, commentary, and symbols are evidently problematic and contradictory in origin, the visuals take on a comedic route to express the instability of our species. The characters and moments seem like they belong in a storybook, performing their roles with provided instructions in an uncomfortable fashion; there are no footnotes, just apprehension, and recognition of forces exerted on them.

Anusha’s argument may seem obvious but it questions the very idea of human freedom, it remarks on the place of animals and animality in our collective progress. The visuals take the risk of putting what is called ‘common sense’ into question. They are coding aspects of ‘man’ that make it ‘animal’, concluding that civilization is the decisive factor that makes ‘man’ a ‘human’.

March 21, 2021

ULTIMATE VICE, acrylics on canson, Anusha Anum, All copyrights are retained by the artist, 2018