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January 29, 2011 / the s.a. project

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!

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 5x7ft – Suleman Khilji

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.

Collograph, Hareem Shairani

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.

Deewar, Collograph, 2x7ft – Hareem Shairani

Oil on Canvas, Zainab Chaudhry

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.

Edit: More thesis images from Usman Khan’s facebook album


Leave a Comment
  1. Scoplicus Jones / Jan 29 2011 3:44 am

    I’ll tag you in the one by suleman khilji’s that ‘captivated’ me :p No, really, that one is just beyond awesome =D aaaaaaaaah

    • the s.a. project / Jan 29 2011 1:40 pm

      Thanks scoplicussian! I’m adding your album link here.
      enjaay the madness

      • scoppy scrangmire / Jan 30 2011 2:57 am

        ok cool.

  2. Amna Shah / Jan 29 2011 3:55 pm

    I was lucky enough to be a part of Hareem’s artistic process, watching her ideas develop and assisting her with printing really helped me grow as a person. Her art is awesome!

    All this intense lobbying better win me a free print.

    • the s.a. project / Jan 29 2011 4:55 pm

      I slogged my way through my sister Sahar Ansari’s awesome Printmaking thesis in 2000. Thats ten years ago and I still haven’t scored a free print!
      keep your fingers crossed though

  3. Asma / Jan 29 2011 5:41 pm

    Its really awesome work. I am amazed

  4. Talha / Jan 29 2011 5:42 pm

    Very nice Pictures and NCA is famous for its work and After going through your post now I know why.

  5. Aswa / Jan 31 2011 2:06 am

    Too good
    amazing art work;)

    • Naqsh Raj / Jan 31 2011 8:06 pm

      I usualy dont find things of my interest to read but i think saira your writtings are getting very interesting day by day. I know most of the students as I live in the hostel with them.I have seen hareem working for nights and days on the cold floor of the dining launch . Akiko’a work not mentioned here is also very honestly linked to her. I still have to see their final presentation, I m excited. only if i get there before its over.

      • the s.a. project / Feb 1 2011 7:55 pm

        Thanks a lot Naqsh. I’ll be featuring the article on you over here soon. once i get permission from the online magazine.
        also, i didnt get to see Akiko’s work but I heard a lot about it. when i went up there was no electricity and so she told me to come later. on sunday when i tried going to college to see the rest of the thesis, i found out that the roads were all blocked because of the protest that was happening. ugh.
        oh well. hopefully ill get my hands on some photographs.
        oh and the show is over and youre not back so…you missed it. better catch the R.M studio alumni show on the 3rd. should be interesting.

  6. zm / Feb 2 2011 11:34 pm

    i loved the thesis work ths time! happy happy:)….great to see so much progress/wonderful work in printmaking:)…..the line quality of those miniature battles was amazing…..loved the painting by zainab chaudry you reviewed-the only problem was its placement,it should have been put up in a space where it could be viewed from a distance….i thought donia waqar’s work/skill was absolutely mindblowing

  7. -_- / Feb 4 2011 5:02 am

    i can only imagine your level of self consciousness and ambition. you are truly one in a million human being.

    which is why im bothered to write this to you.i couldn’t help but constructively critique it.

    you are reporting an event as well as addressing your feel about it. your feelings are apparent, homourously captured and present an insightful picture.

    but i shimmered throw you reporting parts. perhaps i knew better but perhaps it lacked finesse.unpersonalized almost. if you could only improve your child like genius while describing the plastic truth, perhaps you wont remain an artist but you become more enjoyable to read.

    furthermore, i felt as if their were parts in the article which were over checked. almost showing off your grammatic intellect. that put me off. made me want to google a few words.

    keep it up. never change.

    • the s.a. project / Feb 4 2011 10:17 pm

      eeee thank you. i like the critique back!
      wait let me jump into jury gear…be prepared for an attack of epic proportions.

      no but seriously. its a blog. my blog. im not paid. and im me because i can be. i can negate myself, i can use over-intellectual or really crappy grammar. i can post irrelevant material. and i can be serious too. with properly worded essays. thats why most people blog. to put their own actual thoughts on a forum.
      and the readers are voluntary readers who can click the x on the top of the window when they are bored/dont agree/dont give a shit. but usually they stay. because they come to read what this madhatter thinks now. even if its for cheap thrills or just plain curiosity.
      but i’ll keep what you said when i write next. (and make sure this time i realllly throw in trick words for a thesaurus trivia!)
      btw which words did you google? i would google supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

  8. nAbEeL nAwAz / Feb 8 2011 7:45 pm

    hats offfff to NCA students………. gr8 work in allllll fields:)))))))))

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