Anyone you ask will tell you that their most personal, private space in the world is their bathroom. It’s where a human being gets naked and is exposed in the rawest sense possible. This idea spins just as strong a metaphorical image as is expressed by Ehtesham Ansari in an exhibition titled A Moment in My Space, which is open to public at the Studio Seven gallery on E Street Karachi.
“I tried creating a world using the most mundane of spaces that go unnoticed – the bathroom,” the stylist with a creative vision said. “Strange as it may sound, if you come to think of it, this is the most visited space and yet it hasn’t been explored. I was always fascinated by it and since art has no boundaries, I decided to bring my artistic vision to life in a creative manner through this concept.”
The concept has been executed in a series of 11 black and white images, featuring one eclectic personality from the world of showbiz in each. The concept varies on each picture. In one image you’ll see a man balanced on a commode, wearing a crown that I believe reflects a conflict of sexuality. Another picture shows the figure of a woman, holding the flap of a burqa away from her face, as she takes a selfie of herself in the shower. The bathroom is where the diva will struggle with bulimia, where the trapped teenager will find a passage of escape through the window. It’s where most people prefer to smoke as well as smoke up; it’s also where one tends to explore one’s sexuality in the most intimate of ways. All this has been visualised and packaged in highly stylized, tasteful images.
The eleven personalities featured in the exhibition are Iman Ali, Sanam Saeed, Zoe Viccaji, Hareem Farooq, Zhalay Sarhadi, Ayesha Toor, Zara Abid, Rizwan Ali Jaffery, Waleed Siddique, Maya Talpur and Kamran Ahmed. It has been conceptualized by Ehtesham Ansari and photographed by Bilal Khan, Syed Faryab and Danish Ansari.
“I have always adored the old practice of meeting likeminded people in coffee shops and talk about concepts and points of view,” Ehtesham shared how he came up with the idea of this exhibition. Better known as a fashion stylist in the industry – he has been credited with styling most celebrities on Coke Studio in recent seasons – he said that a wave of commercialism had washed over the fashion industry and he felt he needed to disconnect and create something on completely non-commercial and artistic lines.
“This is what I have been missing in the fashion industry,” he said, referring to a time when people thought on the lines of creativity as opposed to commerce. “I have tried to bring my professional expertise and educational background together with an idea in terms of visual content. It’s something everyone can relate to and enjoy. This is also a warm-up to a bigger dream, which would be publishing a coffee table book of my work.”