By Ayesha Majeed –
Pique peeps into Degree Show of National College of Arts
Amidst the excitement of newly arrived spring season in Lahore; a vibrant city of arts, literature and contemporary ideas National College of Arts celebrated its annual extensive DEGREE SHOW. Showcasing the work of graduating artists from the disciplines of fine arts, architecture, ceramics, musicology, design, film and TV, the show started on 16th and lasted till 20th February 2015.
The school of painting, miniature and sculpture stimulated the audience with contemporary, innovative and challenging work. The brilliantly and sensitively executed work of Syed Husain focused on the events that circumnavigate religious and racial prejudices in Hazara area .This would not be wrong to admit that his imagination is trapped by the growing religious extremism and targeted sectarian attacks there .
His inspiration is the “identity” (mainly referring sect) and the “facial features” of the people of his area. He opines that the people are killed sometimes “mistakenly” because of their specific features and under the prevalent age of terrorism, ironically every one ends up wearing “masks”, which mimics the individual’s presence.
The canvas titled “RISHWALA” (Persian word meaning a person with beard) is its self image depicting a man wearing helmet to disguise his “real self”. He is what he is not! The same message is conveyed in “CHEHRA-E-DEDAARE-AMIN” in which he portrays his college friends who suffer the same identity issue in and outside Hazara.
One cannot ignore “FAMILY” in which children are shown with one head (of the family) missing. Although this might be a traditional family photograph image but the message it conveys through the starring gaze of the children is very depressing. All the children represent typical Hazara facial features and question the audience of this social injustice and increasing threats to the lives of the people of Hazara and its surroundings. In a decorative and illustrative manner the artist succeeds in compelling the viewer to think and make a judgment. His lingering memories of motherland compel him to become a voice of so many innocents; targeted and brutally killed.
Hoor Ahmad the miniature artist comes up with a unique subject matter of “inherited disease” and its effect on the patient and the whole family. She use gauche on vasli for her huge canvasses painted in bold and vibrant colours. Discussing the painful occurrence of inherited breast cancer in a family, Hoor opines that the number of women suffering this disease is growing faster every day and it’s so painful to see changes a patient suffer in the body (inside and out) and even in relationships .The beautifully rendered detailed work, typical of traditional miniature style on vasli enhances the beauty of her canvass. Water as a symbol of hope is used frequently in the foreground and the background. She also uses video installation to present water as the main source of energy and optimism. Bold blues, reds and orange dominate her work.
Most disappointing is the work by the artists of painting discipline who fill the first main gallery. The feet of their exhibit seem to be merely fun rather than deep stuff. On the contrary in the second gallery the work of Fatima Batool gives peek into the strange and disturbing “world of chiaroscuro”. Her grotesque, monster-cum cock headed faces compel the viewer to stand and observe. Rendered in surrealist manner the animal faces growing out of human bodies and the weird somewhere un-finished images make the canvas very gloomy. These disturbing art pieces show the darker side to the artistic world and give deep meaningful insight towards artist’s inner feelings and thoughts. She use charcoal and graphite chalk to reveal the fear that creates uncertainty, distrust and melancholy.
In the sculpture discipline Karim Ahmad Khan comes up with contemporary ideas based on inspirations from nature and the fantasy world. His work titled “SKY LIGHT “and “the FOREST OF THE FROZEN LIGHT “compel the viewer to touch and feel his work. He use glue on fish wire that takes the form of thin strands that are grouped together to create the effect of “pouring rain”.
Along with these the number of other students too showcased their talents and gave expression to their ideas with the help of their chosen media and techniques of execution.
Over all the thesis show give a platform to the amateur artists to realize and strengthen their creative potentials through experimentation in their respective discipline. Best of luck to all!!
The writer is a freelance journalist based in Lahore. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org