The Strength in the Shapeless

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

On the artistic experiences of Zaam Arif | Visual Artist

The origin of Zaam’s practice is not unusual. He uses symbols commonly known to man, but he individualizes them and forms a direct relationship. Spring, summer, winter and autumn, Zaam knows little enough about pain resting in the wilting leaves, unread books and beautiful lakes to hand out invitations that enable acquaintance with these odd characters happily gracing sorrowful landscapes.

Neither the end nor the beginning, these figures are keenly observing life, pity, actions and ideas. There are no further places but, these are also not the last years. Zaam works hours without interruption, and often he abandons for years. It is not in hopes of developing any warm and personal relations but getting through a process that digs at the core of most basic human ideas such as suffering, doubt, commitment and detachment.

Standing in public places or strolling in private gardens, humans weigh problems, answers, care and the intervening factors that make up our experiences and, in extension, our identities. The command, charm and humour in these personalities are glimpses of interconnected life. One addresses the world while lying on the sofa while the other is dreaming many dreams in his study. The works have no conditions as it pays respect to the uncertainty of life itself; they will talk, interact, coordinate, follow and think outside the bounds of logic. There are no standardized cryptograms in Zaam’s work, the integral meanings of his personalized version of symbols lie in the connected subconscious. The works can be as real as one wants them to be. These personal versions of the collective subconscious have generated a phenomenon that highlights the totality of natural connection and progression. The aesthetics lie in the ability to recognize and become a part of the bigger picture rather than producing an individual statement.

These works can be said as pieces of magic: one can understand as much as one chooses to understand, one can ignore or admire because connection in any way precedes developing arguments and critical observations. In a way, Zaam’s process and this phenomenon relive visual language as an unbinding expression of an individual and, like love and suffering cannot be analyzed without errors, his works need to be ‘felt’ more than they require interpretations.

February 13, 2022

The Strange II, Zaam Arif, oil on canvas, All copyrights retained by the Artist, 2022.