Work > Glacial Movements and the Ghaib (Unseen)

Glacial Movements and the Ghaib explores the history and politics of water bodies. It considers the flow of water, fluidity and how water interacts with the land. The project contemplates the precarity and beauty of vast natural formations such as glaciers and rivers.

The exhibition, resulting from an all-female expedition that took place in September 2022 by members of Lumen Studios and Pak Khawateen Painting Club, will feature art works produced on that expedition including journals, videos, sound, photography and painting.

The expedition focused on some of the largest glaciers in Pakistan, which are continuously shifting and changing shape. The glaciers are also a water source for rivers in south Asia, and form part of the ‘Third Pole,’ one of the largest ice reserves in the world. The collectives visited four of the glaciers in Hunza district, named Passu, Shishper, Battura and Gulkin. In addition to visiting the glaciers, the collectives explored local towns that are directly affected by glacial lake outbursts and rely on them for a water source.

The collectives have been influenced by the work of James C Scott: a text focused on Zornia, a region between the mountains of Cambodia and Afghanistan. This area was a place for refuge from repressive states. These communities migrated to the mountains to remain stateless, and resist falling into the trap of slavery, working to produce and toil on the land of agrarian states. In contrast to this, the mountains housed small egalitarian communities.

The Glacial Movements and the Ghaib (Ghaib is the Urdu word for Unseen) project shows the precarity and beauty of living with glaciers. While these mountains are no longer spaces of refuge, they have developed into tourist destinations, which has brought exponential wealth with the price of climate change and global warming.

The expedition was funded by the British Council’s ‘New Perspectives 75 Years of Pakistan’. Versions of this exhibition have been shown at VM Gallery Karachi, Tagh’eer Lahore and COMSATS University, Islamabad in Pakistan. This is the first exhibition produced from the expedition within the United Kingdom and has been curated by Melanie King and Paul Russell.

About Pak Khawateen Painting Club & Lumen Studios
Lumen is an art collective, focused on themes of astronomy, light and ecology. Through art commissions, exhibitions, and seminars, we aim to raise a dialogue about how humanity understands existence.

Pak Khawateen Painting Club is focused on the history and politics of water bodies, flow of water, fluidity, bodies blocking water and bodies moving along water.

Amna Hashmi / Saba Khan / Saulat Ajmal / Zohreen Murtaza / Louise Beer / Melanie King / Rebecca Huxley

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