Mahbub Jokhio: In the City of Lost Times
Exhibition at The Tetley, Leeds
My husband had just popped into Leeds while I was home all day finishing my assignment so I was surprised when he phoned me half an hour later. He had just walked past The Tetley and was letting me know about a photo exhibition that was on that I might be interested in. I decided to go straight away as it is only 15 minutes away.
‘The Tetley’ is on the site of the original Brewery in Central Leeds and has a new purpose as a contemporary art space.The exhibition was ‘In the City of Lost Times’ by Pakistani artist Mahbub Jokhio. Jokhio’s work is concerned with the way that very private times are spent in public places. Specifically he has photographed graveyards in Pakistan suggesting that they should be places for both the living and the dead.
Some of the photographs showed people in activities, a new wife searching for her husband, a lady sewing, people having a party, playing chess and so on to convey the meaning that life can happen in in these locations and when juxtaposed with the theme of death only serves to make life appear vital and brighter. Here are a few of my snapshots taken with my phone camera.
An introduction to the exhibition
For the Love of Her
Below is a series of 99 images from a graveyard in Lahore. The number 99 is significant in Islam as it represents infinity and the 99 names of God. The punctum of the display is that 99th photograph. Doesn’t it make you think of 99 and wonder why? I am not a Muslim and didn’t know this about the 99 names for God but it made me so interested to find out. Below is a link to those 99 names:
Ninety nine images of gravestones were displayed in the Atrium of the Gallery. Because I can only read English, I couldn’t read the inscriptions but it didn’t matter. The graves were all women’s graves and Jokhio is displaying his respect for the women of Pakistan.
I did wonder what the series would have been like if the inscriptions were written in English and I suspect that my visit would have taken much longer as there would be a compelling desire to read all the gravestones.
Ninety nine gravestones
Below is a closer view of some of the ninety nine images.
They were very simply held in place with small tacks rather like the ones in the Martin Parr Food Culture Exhibition at the Humber Street Gallery seen here and below.
This provided an informal feel to the display despite its rigid 14 x 7 (plus one) display format.
In Gallery 1 Jokhio’s images show figures at the graveyard engaging in activity. Below a new bride is searching for her husband. Jokhio is showing the relationship between life and death and how they are ‘two sides of the same coin’ (Tetley Exhibition Guide).
Below, a lady is sewing an unknown garment.
Below, two gentlemen play a game of chess.
Below, a group is having a party celebration
The exhibition I felt was very accessible, and powerful in its message of the ‘dualism between the city of the dead and the city of the living’ (ibid).
All images of the exhibition were taken with permission from the Gallery
The Tetley Exhibition Guide. Available from the Gallery.
Jokhio, M (2018) In the City of Lost Times. Exhibition. The Tetley, Leeds (9 Feb 18- 22 April 18)
Below are links to Jokhio and his work