the ‘real’ Thesis week at NCA
The NCA Bachelors thesis is up all over NCA and the Tollinton Market Anarkali from Monday, January 24 till Sunday, January 30. The Departments that are showcasing their works are Fine arts – Print making, Painting, Sculpture and Miniature -, Architecture, Communication Design, Ceramic Design, Textile Design, Product Design, Musicology and and Film and T.V. The Post-graduate programs of Multimedia Arts and Interior Design are also displaying their thesis work at the same time.
This, they say, is the ‘real’ thesis time at NCA. Not like us silly MA VA kids.
I have been very selfish, I admit, as I have made my way through the Fine Arts section only as yet. The rest is meant to be covered on Sunday. But I’d like to write a bit about what I saw and liked.
Over the last couple of years I had felt that aside from a couple of students’ works, much of the effort had been average, both in terms of the actual work being displayed, and very importantly how it was displayed. Those who have read my previous posts know how much importance I give to the display of work. In my experience, art students in Lahore generally tend to think that their work ends at the last brush stroke, hammer blow or mouse click. Very rarely do they invest time in proper framing/printing/pasting/etc of the work and the amount of time spent on working out the surroundings is almost zilch. This perhaps is because they assume that such tasks are not part of their artmaking or that these are expensive add-ons. BNU displays however are very display savvy and this is in all possibility an essential part of their taught academics. Or because they are rich kids, as us government fees paying NCA students like to bitterly remark.
This year though I found the thesis show to be well put together over all and the effort to mix up the work and put miniatures and prints and paintings alongside each other was very refreshing. It gave breathing space while viewing the works and the transitions helped keep the perspective fresh. One wasn’t necessarily forced into gulping down doses of just one kind of grub. So it was kind of like coffee beans thrown in for good measure!
I hadn’t heard many good things about the show before I went, but I don’t think I was very disappointed and actually had a good time sauntering through. Some works really caught my attention and I’d briefly like to mention them here. I truly enjoyed the dark, sinister and almost haunting paintings of Suleman Aqeel Khilji. The sometimes muzzled sometimes rabid looking dogs/dog masks and the vapid faces of unknown men crowding the frames in dark bloody hues gave me delightful shivers down my Machiavellian spine. I could’ve talked to those paintings. Stolen them. Maybe had tea with them. But I really didn’t want to share them.
The other artist who really tickled my fancy was Hareem Shairani and her crazy woman prints. Hareem’s collographs were brilliantly transferred on to “sab se sasta kaghaz”. I don’t know what it is about her drawings of strange men in all shapes and sizes, and in their lacy clothes hidden in collograph techniques, but it was possibly the delicious nature of her lines that bowled me over. What can I say. I love a good drawing. And I want that print.
I also absolutely enjoyed this one painting by Zainab Chaudhry, which showed a corpulent old man propped up against pillows, possibly on his sick/death bed. The absolute freedom, sincerity and abandon with which the brush strokes and colours are applied make the image almost flicker in imagined candle light and resound with morose kitten mewling. That description sure as hell sounds like shit but I swear to god that’s what I feel when I see it. (Which is why I should never make a career out of professional review writing. That stuff is only for fuelling my own art angst on art critique and writing in Pakistan!) The rest of Zainab’s work paled in contrast to this piece – but then again, I hear, she wasn’t supposed to be displaying her thesis right now anyway due to a serious health issues, and just put up several of her older works in order to graduate on time.
The other work I wanted to steal – Sardar Abdul Rahman Khan’s maps and drawings of battles between various human and non-human races, and their 3D models, appealed greatly to the now-dormant-World-of-Warcraft player in me. It was also a very interesting thesis for a miniature student for sure and it sure would do Amna Hashmi proud that another miniature artist now jumps neck deep into anime and fantasy; Fazal Abbas Rizvi’s blurred and melancholy small paintings were gorgeous and interestingly enough he showed paintings, a 2-channel video and an installation while he is graduating as a printmaking student; and Shamsuddin’s booby women evoked glee in the otherwise tease that miniature work has become (are you a flower or are you a vagina? you’re a vagina?! ohmygawd!….).
Its 3:17 a.m. now and I’m tired. (and supelling/garammatical eerrors will have to be ignored). And I just realised that every single work I liked and featured here has one or more figures in it! Now THAT is something completely not me. Figures-obsession?! not. nada. nil. but what excuse do I have other than my friendly ulcer playing games with my brain.
I have a dream, that one day I will have a nice fat funder for my blog and I’ll buy myself lots of good bad fun scribbly scrawly art. Art that no one else wants…at least Hareem seems to think so!
Pictures have been stolen from all over facebook or from my crap photographs from the printed catalog (truly abysmal quality!) Photo credits: Amina Ansari, Zainab Chaudhry, random others and my steals from printed matter.