In between the bubbling decade of 1960s and fabricated decade of 1980s falls the decade which was somehow had some authentic ingredients in it and that is 1970s.
Cold war that started in about 1945 saw almost four and half decades. Just in the middle of his era there was a decade that was about the peak of liberation, freedom, peace and courage, commonly called 70s.
For those who lived in that decade, this period of their life is a cherished gift of memories for them while those who have heard and see this decade in glimpse of pictures and movies, fantasize it as the best period of not only in Pakistan but all over the world.
To celebrate and remember this decade, our very own Amin Gulgee organized an exhibition by the name of “The 70s: Pakistan’s Radioactive Decade” that brought together the response of 40 artists to the 1970s, Pakistan’s momentous decade.
The curators Amin Gulgee and Nilofur Farrukh were of hope that they had foregrounded the ambivalent legacy of the 1970s.
The exhibition included both artists who lived and worked at the time and younger artists who can only imagine life then. It was comprised of video works, drawings, installations, paintings, photography, performance and sculpture.
According to curators, ““The 70s: Pakistan’s Radioactive Decade” presented an opportunity for today’s generation to reassess the boom in cultural output that the 1970s allowed, whether it was through a dance performance by Nahid Siddiqui on PTV, or a pop song by Alamgir, or an iconic ad that ended in the husky mouthing of the word “Satisfaction.”
Curators are of view that the title Pakistan’s Radioactive Decade alludes to not only the Nuclear ambitions of the country but also to memories of the 1970s that like the ‘afterlife’ of a radioactive object, remains strongly embedded in the national psyche and has left its impact in different ways.
It was a decade that began with the bloody loss of East Pakistan and ended with a coup d’état and yet includes historical landmarks like the 1973 Constitution and the development of the country’s nuclear weapons program.
The state policies of the early1970s opened up a discourse in the cultural and social space that allowed for unprecedented experimentation in fields as diverse as art, dance, music, television, fashion and advertising while the end of the decade was however marked by official censorship, both in the media and beyond and a ban on dance on television.
To this day, a nagging nostalgia remains for those earlier years and anecdotes abound of more halcyon days. The show will analyze but also challenge this nostalgia.