Exhibition “Eyes Recently Seen” by Basir Mahmood

The opening of a new solo exhibition by the artist Basir Mahmood “Eyes Recently Seen” was held at Letitia Gallery in the presence of H.E. Mr. Najeeb Durrani, ambassador of Pakistan and the artist who came to Lebanon specially for this occasion.

Curated by Lauren Wetmore, the exhibition presents new and existing photographic and video works which reveal the distinctive processes by which the artist recreates his own visual experiences. Fascinated by the structures of daily life – labour, hierarchy, distribution and identity – Mahmood’s photographs and videos occupy a space between staged scenes and spontaneous documentation.

In Eyes Recently Seen, works from the past five years of Mahmood’s practice – including meditations on fishermen (Message to the Sea, 2012) and blessed water (Holy water from Mecca, 2015) – are shown together with new pieces that investigate communal human consumption. Taken together, the works demonstrate the artist’s position in relation to the various social structures which they reflect.


For the new works in the exhibition, including Milk (2018) and All Good Things (2018), Mahmood composed the activity of individuals from various occupations, including day-laborers and milk sellers, in a Lahore film studio. The participants were invited to enact their vocations, to explore the nuances of human interaction.


The new diptych, All Divided Equally (2018), continues Mahmood’s fascination with the societal division of resources by depicting an abundance of food, each item cut exactly in half to create a multitude of diptychs. The resulting tableaux considers the outcome of equality in distribution.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.


Basir Mahmood said: “I am interested in exploring my position as an artist by adopting multiple roles including: as an author who writes narratives; an initiator who sets in motion collisions of people and improvised scenarios to create original stories; as an observer who teleports in or out of the everyday situations he is observing to see intimately from within and from without; and as a withdrawn subject, for example as a disengaged onlooker on a main street.”


Lauren Wetmore, curator of the exhibition commented: “Many themes from Basir Mahmood’s work will be relevant to the Beirut context, from picturing an interdependent relationship between humans and the sea to exploring the societal position of so-called ‘unskilled’ laborers. Basir’s work brings an array of contexts and themes in sharp focus through his process – the way he allows us to transcend the distinction between how an artist sees the world versus how the world is seen.”

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