Category Archives: video art


saba hasan : undeciphered fates

an artists monograph published on my book works essay by rahul bhattacharya

available on amazon


Saba’s Interconnected Universe, essay by suneet chopra


The present exhibition of Saba Hasan’s non-figurative art is notable for one important reason. While the figurative veers closer to individual points of reference, the non-figurative encompasses universalities and in work such as Saba’s the individual elements come into play as well, but well within the framework of the universal structure. This exhibition brings into play the different genres of art drawn from a wide variety of disciplines and media: videos, charcoal drawings, sculptures, collographs, photographs and encaustic, encompassing many different artistic approaches.
Her use of linearity, spatial compositions, the moving image , textures, the interplay of light and shade creates a canvas so varied that ultimately it draws the viewer to the essence of art that is the content around which different formal edifices are constructed making each work of art a material entity in itself.
Saba’s works, whichever genre they may belong to, carry with them that element of the first strike. It can be a smudge of charcoal, a dash of colour in a layered space of different tones of white and off white. It can be colour emerging from layered applications of different tones or it can be a flash of light in a web of shadow. For the discerning eye these formal characteristics give one the feeling of the light at the end of a tunnel, which provides a visual arousal of hope even in the darkest of surroundings. This comes out sharply in her video where we see reflections on the Dal Lake with the flow of the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz recited by Zehra Nigah, evoking a profound sense of empathy with the human condition.
This element of hope is reflected in the powerful undercurrents that characterise her work irrespective of the medium she uses. Sweeping lines, whorls and the flow of a liquid motion give us the confidence that if running water can cut through stone over time, how much easier is it for motivated people to do the same if they are determined to reach their goal ?
Indeed, while the mere promise of motion in a visual illusion in two dimensional space can inspire one, it is the intervention of elements of concrete spaces that become forms in her art and awaken memories in every one of us. The locations vary from New York, Chicago, Paris, Salzburg to Srinagar, Kochi and Colombo, allowing one to enter the basis of her experience and blend one’s own perception with it and this gives us yet another dimension through which we can appreciate her work.
This exhibition reflects the joy and empathy inherent in non-figurative art while not losing the individual character and concrete references of each work as a moment in the life of the artist. It reflects both the present and its germination in the experiences of her past and also in the future in the eye of the viewer. All this is transparent in Saba’s works and reflects the depth of what one can appreciate through her art. This is, in essence, its value.

Suneet Chopra, Art Critic & Writer

saba hasan: okakura gallery

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Material progress though relevant seems to have brought us to a point where we realize that prosperity fails unless shared and that the new order must take into account our interdependence as humans and with our natural environment.

“four haikus” comprises my video poems which want to draw attention to our closely entwined lives with nature.
I shot the raw video footage during my visit to Japan, the beautiful land of haikus and zen philosophy.

As the core of Buddhist metaphysics, in haikus, the first imperative is its location in nature and then a reflection upon the transience of natural things. That rhythmic world of nature teaches us compassion, integrity and brings meaning into life. At the very core of my works lies the culture of zen, which is the video’s poetic and interpretive core.

 saba hasan



IMG_1336 poster


Chromatic Resonance: The Space Between

For an artist strongly rooted in historical depiction and discovery through highly textured oeuvre incorporating organic and multifarious Materia (earth, sand, paper, salt, rock, ink, ash and nails), this body of work by Saba Hasan manifests an embrace of photography and video with an equally potent and variant aesthetic.

From a more monochromatic palette to such vibrant chromes, photography has brought her back to colour. Expressions of poetry, contemplation and thought have imbued the sites, sounds and loci surrounding her quotidian world and her travels. Throughout is a continuous vision, one of metaphoric peregrinations and metaphors of light and shadow. Beyond mere nuance, from her journey to Japan in 2012, her video Four Haikus evokes the spirit and timelessness of the renowned Japanese poets Matsuo Basho (d.1694), Yosa Busan (d.1783), and Kobayaschi Issa (d.1828).

How to explore a unique, yet shared vision explores depths and unexpected revelations which cross borders of time and space. As penned by William Shakespeare in The Winter’s Tale (First Folio, 1623), “The art itself is nature” (Act 4, Scene IV). Her creative quest embodies shifting paradigms and vistas, resulting in an embrace of imagination and reflection on facets of elements which often one has forgotten to note.

Elizabeth Rogers