Immersive displays

January 29, 2023

The annual degree show by the Fine Art Department of the NCA succeeds in creating an experience that stays with you long after you’ve exited the exhibition venue

Share Next Story >>>
Abdul Hadi’s untitled animation. — Photos: Supplied


very year, the National College of Arts provides its students with a great platform to showcase their creative imaginations in varied art disciplines. The occasion is the thesis degree show. This year is no different.

The Thesis Degree Show 2023 concludes Sunday (today) at Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery. The disciplines include printmaking, painting, sculpture and miniature painting.

Maryam Zia’s Untitled in mix media.

Displayed throughout the college, the visitors are allowed to encounter art as a part of the building. This year, too, the Fine Art Department has succeeded in creating an experience that stays with you long after you exit the exhibition venue. Take, for instance, Abdul Hadi’s series of video art pieces that is projected onto several sections. His 3D animations reflect concepts of mind-body dualism — Cogito, ergo sum (Latin for I think, therefore I am) — a philosophical concept introduced by Descartes. His dream-like animations confront the viewer with symbolic surrealist rendering of floating chairs and sliding shoes, which have almost the quality of being taken over by virtual reality.

Salar Marri’s A Room of One’s Own. Acrylic on canvas.

Hadi’s captivating animations talk of power and politics and how both impact our rational being, our imagination and senses.

On the other end of the spectrum, Salar Marri’s paintings have a growing silence about them. The stillness of the paint application, the relationship of body with its surroundings, and the recurring theme of night all speak of an internal journey. One of his works, titled I Am Not Here, explores the solitude of man in relation to their own flesh, gathered and corned in a composition and paired with subtle hues in the background.

Speaking of human relationships, Shafia Shafiq has produced a series of compelling photographic works where the human body is used as an element to play with, by means of design aesthetics. Compositions of the body parts, paired with contrasting hues of blue, make for an intriguing series of work.


For an artist there is no greater ritual than art-making, where the mind is in constant receipt of stimuli from different textures, sounds and shapes. Maryam Moinuddin’s poetic drawings in graphite; particularly, her artwork titled Dust, are explorations of the world around us.

Moinuddin explores the concept of infinity in a number of drawings that feature fossil arrangements, the vastness of the sea, the order of the night sky and fleeting landscapes. These drawings reflect the nature of water, with subtle play of light and shadow.

Anza Rafique’s Pure Disgust. In cement and fabric.

Maryam Zia, on the other hand, dissects the physicality of being in a tangible vessel. Her lifelike sculptures are predominantly made of fur, silicon and paint. These feathered forms turned inside out provoke a variety of interpretations. Her immersive work also speaks of distress, pain and suffering.

Following the theme of distressed bodies, Anza Rafique’s showcase feels like a visual representation of Hanif Kureishi’s celebrated novel, The Body. Hung on the wall, resembling animal and/ or human skin, worn and transformed by its previous owner, which has left marks and other residue, the shaped contours of the artwork seem to question the moral and psychological implications of our physical and emotional belongings.

The exhibition continues till January 29

More From Reviews