Memory Keeper: Irfaan Channa

10 February - 10 March 2022

“To remember is to create, and, therefore, to remember is to be a poet”

– Ocean Vuong

Irfan Channa’s graphite artworks provide a direct semblance to the lyricism of poetry and fineness of a visual artist. For him, poetry becomes a medium through which he revisits his spatial memories before translating them onto paper, a process that is akin to the summoning of music but, with the strokes of a pencil. Referring to Urdu poets such as Khaled Iqbal, Juan Eliya, Kalim Khan and Ali Qasim, he conjures up his memories of a not-so-forgotten past into landscapes that translate written verses into a visual, contemplative dialogue.


While his works take one back to the picturesque elements borrowed from early photography and company paintings, his visual language iterates the silence untouched by the industrial revolution. He meditates on his landscapes by removing most of the human interventions thereby converting them into a poetic recitation of a time that has gone by.


Channa’s romanticised landscapes of riverbanks, lush trees, meadows and birds coursing through the night skies are moments of peace and introspection. Occasionally, Channa inserts electric poles or paved roads in his open fields bringing the viewer back to reality, subtly reminding them of the consequences of meddling with nature in the name of progress and the subsequent loss nativity and identity.


Irfan Channa (b.1998, Shikarpur, Pakistan) graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts (Painting) from National College of Arts, Lahore. He has held his solo exhibition titled ‘Seen’ at Sanat Initiative, Karachi (2021). His works have been featured in several group exhibitions, including ‘To The Point’ at IVS Gallery, Karachi (2021);  ‘Behind their eyes’ at O Art Space, Lahore (2021);  ‘Broadcast Vol. I’, at O Art Space, Lahore (2020);  ‘The Golden leaves of Indus’  at ArtChowk Gallery, Karachi (2020); amongst others.


Text @ Oorja Garg