Ayesha Shariff’s recently held exhibition titled Funky Flora was a massive hit! Certainly a refreshing change from the mundane that we see all the time. Ayesha Shariff is a visual artist and art teacher. Her work relies on a language of personal symbolism that merges realism with surrealism. Humour is key to the mix and employed cleverly to comment on serious situations. Shariff works in oil acrylic and tempera on a variety of painting surfaces. Shariff has exhibited widely in Europe and the USA and taught at the ACES center of arts, Connecticut, and at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi among other prestigious institutes. She is the founder of the Canvas Courtyard an on-site and online art studio for children and adults.

Ayesha recently exhibited her Funky Flora exhibition in Karachi. The annual exhibit showcased 120 paintings by 66 students of the Canvas Courtyard her open-air open-air art studio for children and adults.

Talking about the exhibit she shares, “I imagined the exhibit as one giant spread of exotic plants and enchanting trees enveloping the Full Circle Gallery. Students had to ‘create’ atmosphere reflective of their own personality and mood. Students learnt to use photographs, artworks and digital imagery as references along with their wild imagination to build their unique compositions.”

Usage of light is the soul of any painting. “They used daylight, evening light and night time to depict a variety of moods on canvas – mysterious, quiet, euphoric, playful, haunting, serene and more.” The exhibit was divided into 5 mini-series: Tree of Life, Tree as self-portrait, Deep Blue Nights and Enchanting Forests. The medium used largely was acrylic on canvas but in a range of technique and application: palette knife, toothbrush spray, finger painting and brush painting.

Talking about the amazing response to her exhibit Ayesha adds, “The evening was pure joy. My little students were ecstatic to see their name in bold, printed on the gallery walls. We had a tsunamic turnout ranging in a few hundreds.” The two lanes surrounding the gallery were blocked and some visitors never made it to the gallery in time because of heavy traffic. Visitors included students, parents and grandparents. “All I could hear was breathless chatter and roaring laughter. We had a sombre moment in the midst of this joyful pandemonium – a talk on the power of art, a dua for Palestine and Quran recitation.”

“This was the second consecutive annual art event of the Canvas Courtyard. We are bringing you new and exciting drawing and painting workshops in 2024 lnshaAllah. Sky’s the limit!