A group show titled Another Matter recently unveiled at O Art Space Gallery, Lahore. The work primarily focused on the young talent that has graduated recently including Aliha Ahmed Qureshi, Bilal Ahmed, Fizza Hussain, Rao Hassan Nasir, Sabeen Ahsan, Sehrish Mustafa, Shahid Altaf Malik and Zarina Khan.
For Aliha Ahmed Qureshi, the use of conventional imagery from traditional miniature painting to depict personal pain, private concerns or critique political positions, are ways to make newinventions in the art of past. Traditional format of elaborate borders, flowery frames, inclusion of wounds, body organs and color connected to blood in her work represents the element of human presence but with a different and painful point of view. Aliha Ahmed Qureshi graduated in Miniature Painting from National College of Arts, Lahore in 2018. Aliha is a strong willed individual and has been acquiring and sharing skills and knowledge at various institutions including Teach A Child School Lahore, Cavin Shon Lahore and currently at Algo Republic Lahore. After her thesis this year, she has displayed her work with My Art World and now in O Art Space, Lahore. Qureshi lives and works in Lahore.
For Bilal Ahmed, life manifests in many forms. His work represents the way life is recycled and reproduced. For him death is not the end, but a step towards eternal life. Images of graveyards, mounds and tombstones rendered in varying tones of grey in his work address the presence of death and existence. Dark shades in these works on paper invoke a feeling of loneliness, a sense of unknown and an atmosphere of silence. Bilal Khalid graduated from National College of Arts, Lahore in 2018. He is a trained Printmaker for which he was awarded distinction in his thesis. Developing his interest in art at early age at home (his father is also an artist), learning at Alhamra Art Council, taking Fine Art in his intermediate at Government College University and then training from teachers like RM Naeem before even coming to NCA has got him exceptional skills, technique and conceptual base to create his visuals. Bilal has also been exhibiting his work at various venues locally and his work is part of many private collections already. Khalid lives and works in Lahore.
The artist Fizza Hussain sees life as a constant shift from reality. Nature and its true symbolic meanings inspire her to portray her thoughts. She mirrors her work in the varying moods of her personality as they waver like shadows and stretch and gather. The perfection of a Miniature painting bothers her as her own profound imperfection makes the artist realize that the incessant need of a perfect physicality cannot mould her into being any different. Her intention, through her paintings is to explore the imperfections of her hand. Fizza Hussain graduated in Fine Arts (Miniature Painting) with honors from National College of Arts Lahore in 2018. She is a recipient of Merit Scholarship in 2015 and 2017 at NCA and attended the Summer Oil Painting Workshop at Shakir Ali Museum in 2016. Fizza is also one of the twenty-four artists from the Maktab Project held in collaboration with Agha Khan Museum as part of the Lahore Biennial 01 in 2018. Hussain lives and works in Lahore.
Rao Hassan Nasir creates the silence or stillness in his paintings of plastic plants. These indicate a shift in a culture that practices and prefers replica in place of actual entity. He renders details of flowers, stems and leafs immaculately on different backgrounds to suggest a shift in the sensibility of society, in which, economic pressure and factors, as well as information technology have created and enhanced a taste for artificial reality. Rao Hassan Nasir graduated in Fine Arts from National College of Arts Lahore in 2018. He has been participating in exhibitions, including Young Artist Exhibition at Alhamra Lahore along with a group exhibition in Pakistan Steel Mills Officers Mess and a Group Show with My Art World. Nasir lives and works in Lahore.
The works Sabeen Ahsan produces are comprised of fluid gouache drawings that merge with her varying mark making techniques. The use of paper is at the core of her practice where she explore its materiality, whether through her own hands or through another material entirely. It is where she finds herself constantly trying to scratch the surface in attempt to reveal the multitude of possibilities yet undiscovered. Like a jigsaw puzzle the various compartments may be moved around, shifted into how she wants the image to be perceived.Trying to capture the narratives that, shift with time as old cycles break and transform, making space for a new metamorphosis to take place. Sabeen Ahsan graduated in Fine Arts (Miniature Painting) from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2018. She has also exhibited her work in ‘We the People We the Arts’ – a competition by UNICEF promoting the theme of Zero Hunger through visual arts in 2016 and in a group show of established and emerging artist in Islamabad with My Art World Gallery in 2014. Her studio practice incorporates drawings, photography and mix media. Her work is informed by the associations with color and texture built by her discipline in miniature painting. Ahsan lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan.
Sehrish Mustafa’s practice as an emerging multi disciplinary artist is to create narratives that speak for the absence of those associations, memories, experiences and emotions that have self or otherwise inflicted disregard on multiple levels. She portrays a fraction of these lost insightful realities with experiences that as a being she envisions the most. Examining the intrinsic worth of what remains, and a device of fragmentation, her concerns are a continuation of what has been eroded. Incorporating glass is a way of executing a dialogue, which is confined within these sharply pleasing surfaces only to investigate upon the contextual body of these representations. The character of these aesthetic voids revolves around exploring the animate tendencies of the ‘beings’ and the associations. Her mix media sensations incorporate the materials left behind; devalued belongings that once carried a tale of their own. She brings together all of these collected narratives in compositions of a transit through and as a female. Sehrish Mustafa graduated in Fine Arts (Miniature Painting) from National college of Arts, Lahore in 2018. Other than her forthcoming exhibitions in Reitberg Museum Zurich in 2019, O Art Space Lahore in 2018, Swiss Ambassodor’s Residence Islamabad in 2018 and Sannat Gallery Karachi in 2018, she has participated in ‘We the People We the Arts’ held at various venues including Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation Islamabad, Zahoor Ul Akhlaq Gallery NCA, Satrag Gallery Islamabad, Karachi Literary Festival and Anishtar Hall Peshawar in 2016. Her work corresponds with the curiosities of the unspoken tales, sensations and the skin. Aspect of materiality and a subtle vocabulary is main features of her work. She is currently teaching art at the Lahore Grammar School, along with her art practice. Mustafa lives and works in Lahore.
Shahid Altaf Malik explores the existence of dichotomies in nature. He brings forth an interesting phenomenon of light and darkness supporting each other and autumn and spring complimenting their counterparts. Certain dichotomies that are not a reflection of nature are where the artist feels the urge to intervene. Depletion of ozone layer, global warming and dumping sites are few instances that he feels are invading occurrences that need to be transformed. Transformation of material is an interesting practice and here the artist has shown waste material and landfill zones in such a way that, it opens anew discourse. Sometimes piles of garbage look like a mountain; others like a valley full of flowers or a flowing river. In some of his works, the transition between two dichotomies is interesting. Shahid Altaf Malik graduated in Fine Arts (Miniature Painting) from National college of Arts, Lahore in 2018. Along with his recent group exhibition at PNCA Islamabad ‘We the people We the Arts’ – a project of Swiss Embassy, he has also been showing his work since 2012 at Naqsh School of Art, Alhamra Art Gallery, Zahoor Ul Akhlaq Gallery NCA, Chief Justice House Lahore, Fatima Jinnah Medical University Lahore and Daachi Arts and Crafts Exhibition Lahore. He has also been part of the faculty at Naqsh School of Arts, Lahore in 2013. His recent work is about untraditional landscape especially, which involves certain kind of human intervention. Malik lives and works in Lahore.
With an interest in landscapes and dystopias, Zarina Khan’s work is delicately balanced between the reality of this world and her imagination that reveals it as a dystopia. Inspiration comes from her surroundings such as the streets and walls of a city; their degradation is a staunch reminder of the dismal era we are living in. Zarina Khan graduated in Fine Arts (Miniature Painting) from National College of Arts, Lahore in 2018. She was one of the participating artists in the ‘Maktab’ Project – a joint venture of Agha Khan Museum and NCA and a collateral event of Lahore Biennale 01 in 2018. Her work is a combination of traditional Miniature painting and modern techniques to recreate a personalized contemporary style. She takes her inspiration from prominent artists such as Banksy, Ai wei wei and max Ernst, which leads to a mixture of street art and surrealism. Khan lives and works in Lahore.