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Students recently graduated from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture’s (IVS) fine art class of 2018 presented their multidisciplinary practices in a group show titled “Spacebar” at Koel Gallery, Karachi.
The exhibition included twenty-four emerging artists. Dealing with their individual concerns they depicted a world of visual images of their own guided by current social and political situations of the country.
Abeer Arshad has worked in various mediums which includes drawings, installations, new media art, printmaking, painting and sculpture.
Tackling environmental issues her work was based on the rise of environmental pollution causing a lot of distress not only to humans but also to our nature.
“I chose to work by using metal bottle caps which are causing environment pollution, from these bottle caps I have tried to create “Shrubs” from the used bottle caps which looks pretty now but in actual these are taking over nature causing destruction to our environment,” she said.
Ana Ali Kazmi’s work gives emphasis to the surrounding spaces and objects, devoid of human activity her artworks created a peaceful atmosphere, commenting on the anxiety one faces through crowded places. She captured the essence of the space in her graphite drawings depicting realities.
“My works explores visuals taken from market places. I feel anxious and apprehensive when visiting these sites, however through my work I have figured out the reason for my anxiety in the chaos created through human interaction. Hence by excluding people from my narrative I am able to find beauty and tranquility which I have illustrated in my drawings,” she said.
Ansha Memon’s work revolved around spaces and how people react to it. Her work involved human reactions. Her idea was initiated from deconstructing components from old/used machinery to discover their individual functionality and bring them together constructing a functional system.
“My work reflects upon the idea of Jugaar literally and figuratively. As each component has its own characteristic and history and comes together to construct a functional or semi-functional structure; as different people are components of society that hold their own identity but come together to contribute in a system,” she said.
Aqsa Khan Nasar’s work was based on the politics of Balochistan and how the province played a major role in the development of the country and yet remains ignored and underdeveloped. Her thesis highlighted the nuclear test video of Raskoh, Chaghi.
“Traveling between Quetta and Karachi made me realize the importance of landscapes of Balochistan. These barren landscapes always appeared precious to me as all of these landscapes are naturally constructed with multiple layers of minerals,” she said.
Asim Muhammad Ameen used different mediums to talk about his experiences with religion, history and politics.
“My work is an inquiry into my past. I tend to revisit the ideas or beliefs I was taught while being raised in a conservative Muslim community,” he said.
Ayesha M Ali’s images were the interpretation of social psychology attached with imagined or hyper-real ideals, models and perfect human body. Self-projection into these ideals is familiar yet strange, making the question ‘What is self?’ lost somewhere in the reflection of the ‘other’.
“My practice interrogates the relation between blurred boundaries of reality and illusions, collective memory and desires, genders and set roles created in the pop culture we consume every day. The ‘idea of projected truth’ can be understood through the language of attire/costumes as a medium to respond towards observed/transforming culture that we are a part of,” she said.
Since childhood Babar Feroz was introduced to play with doh. He started to make things from it. Everything changed from then as he learned to make anything and everything with clay and have not stopped since. His sculptures were truly reflected his love for animals.
“The theme of my work is about the endangered wildlife of Pakistan because I feel like this issue needs to be talked about,” he said.
Hassan Aslam took inspiration from trees that converted into his artworks as he viewed them as a means of maintaining privacy along with shade and beauty.
“The idea stemmed from my travels to Melbourne, where the trees were my sources of comfort and artistic interest. When returned to Pakistan and continued with my bachelors I noticed the existence of these objects and how I have been overlooking them in my own country. I studied what trees and greenery around me meant and was used in my city. They served as a way to maintain privacy along with shade and beauty,” he said.
Haya Esbhani’s work was mostly rooted into the subjects of home and recalling the past. Her collective and personal memories of family house reflected in her works in some what distorted style.
“My work revolves around recreating the architectural space with collective and personal memories of the house that was once shared by my joint family. Taking inspiration from clay tablets, my work displays a notion of a missed space that now only exists as a distorted memory. I am emphasizing on the sense of loss, by making an enquiry into my own memory of my childhood house. By working on a tangible way of recreating a missed past, I am also symbolically reliving it,” she said.
Jaweria Shoaib’s body of work roots from the APS Peshawar attack, where she investigated the post-trauma of the school shooting. Her artworks showed images of children playing on swings in parks but they were physically absent only their shadowy images proving they were once there playing happily.
“'We will never forget’, they said. But what do we truly remember? We remember the blood, the lifeless bodies, and the number. But do we truly remember the presence of those lives? The presence that embodied laughter, whooshing swings, screams of excitement echoing in parks? Today, playgrounds echo not with laughter but silence. It is not only the absence of the 144 that is felt in that silence, but the unvoiced fear that questions if a child cannot come home from school, will he come home from a park?” she said.
Kiran Saleem’s work emerged from the nature of the vulnerability of the female body in spaces. Through her metal sculptures she talked and shared about her personal experience of being watched in a private space. She makes fragile draperies in her sculptures out of metal washers where she talks about the violence of everyday, focusing on the harassment, a woman faces every day, either in a public or a private space. The artist created folds of cloth in her sculptures talking about protection and guarding oneself.
“These pieces are attractive yet threatening. Converting cloth into a hard, gritty form, possessing the qualities of an armor or a shield, these pieces are strong but yet fragile at the same time as there is still a possibility of being watched through them,” she said.
Mahnoor Qazi, has been honing her skills of animation, and design since receiving her first tablet. She began to experiment with the idea of combining animation and fine art. Her life-long obsession with video games gave birth to the idea of incorporating elements of Pakistani culture in vintage arcade games. Her work has been influenced by video games, such as Mario and Pac-Man, preferring to use the simpler, old school aesthetic of arcade and handheld games.
“The incorporation of Pakistani elements in the work is my attempt of blurring the two worlds I live in, the “real” world, and the “game” world, an allusion to just how easy it is to get lost in either of them, to leave your “real” self behind and, for a time, live as whomever you want, however many times you want, countless reincarnations. The power to pause and resume as you wish, to restart as you wish,” she said.
Muzna Roghay’s work was a response to her experiences while working closely with community organizations and NGOs in Karachi. With her backing they digitized the only complete map documenting the drainage of Karachi, facilitating them to sustain sanitation in the inner city.
“My drawings are a reflection of the limited way I experience and consume the city while passing through it, where my interaction is seldom a whole image and is mostly a brief fleeting understanding of one place and time, netted through the shaded window frame of my car,” she said.
Osama Rehman’s work was based on his experiences regarding home and shifting home. Being a motion graphics designer he communicated with others through animation and projection mapping and explored the possibilities of expressing emotions through animation and sound. In his current work he created artworks by projecting on cartons, a material that is used in shifting. In this way he shared the perception of permanence with respect to home, in which he critically analyzes his life while connecting the dots of past and present.
“Home is a place where family is together, for others home is a place where you live permanently. In past couple of years, I have shifted several homes. These constant shifts have changed for me the meaning and emotions attached with it. Home has become an abstract idea which consistently keeps changing the meaning of space for me,” he said.
Sadia Safder’s work was the result of various influences of her surroundings, landscapes and nature while moving through Karachi from one place to another.
“In my work the grid itself divides the space into fragments where the viewer when views it from a certain distance can see the image more clearly and as you go closer, the image becomes unclear and you just see the shades and values,” she said.
Sahl Shoaib Motiwala explored the working of mind through drawings in charcoal, pen and paint. Her charcoal drawings showed imaginative patterns in objects where none actually present a tendency known as Pareidolia.
“The brain functions as a highly advanced command center that’s identical for all, yet it works differently for everyone. My work investigates this difference. Pareidolia’s an experience where the mind responds to an image by recognizing patterns where none exist,” she said.
Saleha Memon Qureshi’s work talked about the changes of the sea.
“There is a connection between me and the sea for the past twenty-four years. Through my window, every day, I would watch the sea and then all these years how it shifted and changed. In that process I stopped appreciating the gift that I had. I didn’t realize the importance of the sea I had until time came when I moved out of the house,” she said.
Samra Kamran Mehkri’s work revolved around the use of camera in our lives.
“Intrigued by how our lives are surrounded around the camera, I set out to explore how we perceive the world through a limited frame by viewing it through the lens. In a time when a camera surrounds one physically, the distorted view of a space shows the interaction where the limits of boundaries and dimensions diffuse, resulting in a distorted image,” she said.
Schanza Khan’s work explored the word curious as she was about everything she came through in her life as she traveled a lot and constantly changing her house and country.
“Growing up, I learned to observe and adapt quick, while not being anchored to one single place, I learned that non-stasis is life, movement is life,” she said.
Shahzadi Kainat Ayub’s has chosen to draw the portrait of some of her fellow students, friends along with her self-portraits to capture the memories of her student life at IVS.
“With the falling of the last leaves of autumn, winter will come with end of my IVS life. The time that I have lived is like a dream that stays inside me forever becoming part of the unseen,” she said.
Sundus Ihsan Khan’s work dealt with emotions and feelings related to nostalgia, holding on and letting go. “From moving from one city to another and one house to another house, cardboard boxes for me started to symbolize holding on to something but also contrastingly signify moving on. They are a container to store possessions in but are also a vessel to keep things in while moving from one place to another,” she said.
Tooba Shahbaz’s work involved a series of paintings in which she dissected short films and videos in various frames that appeared to slow down these watched scenes.
“Her work illustrates short observational moments of people, spaces and scenes, found during day-to-day transitions. It is a reflection of a desire to slow down and take in all that is missed in the rush of a daily routine, to stop and observe the mundane – and act that is almost meditative and thus calming.”
Yusra Taqi Allawala’s work reflected escapism where she finds in by reading romantic novels.
“My work is inspired by contemporary romance novels which I indulge in, to escape from reality into a fictional dreamscape. The imagery and surroundings that are depicted in these books are a significant part of the narrative,” she said.
Zoya Arshad Faruqui’s work portrayed different scenarios that were imagined or were created by being inspired by real situations.
“Having had grown up with little memory of women from an affluent social class in public and almost never without an apparent motive, my work tends to be a cross between the research paper ‘Why Loiter’ (it questions and offers an explanation for the absence [of comfort] females in public forums) and book ‘The Beauty of Everyday Things’,” he said.