Study group is an informal initiative by Auj A. Khan And Faisal Siddiqi. The group meets monthly in Karachi - with a circulated text to discuss the art related in our context.
ARTstudy on Veena Malik's Pakistan a text by Faisal Siddiqi
Thursday, 24th February 2011 was very exciting for artists, writers and students as Vasl carried out a study group on an editorial article that appeared in DAWN newspaper last month about the controversial activities of actress Veena Malik. The writer of the text is a Karachi-based lawyer, Faisal Siddiqi who, in his article, was investigating the confused, paradoxical and contradictory nature of the 'masses' in Pakistan. Icons such as Veena Malik, who are watched by millions of Pakistanis, have been creating ripples on Pakistani national television, though in the case of Veena Malik's recent appearances, the actress has demonstrated great courage in facing the fundamentalist right and defending her personal and private life. The ARTstudy discussion sparked a number of other debates, including emerging feminist identities, and the simultaneous imposition of the ideals of the extreme right and secular forces upon the people of Pakistan - particularly upon those who can neither be classed as fundamentalist nor liberal.
Vasl ARTstudy at 'Two is a Company', Ahsan Jamal and Madhia Sikander at Canvas Gallery Karachi, 10th February.
With lots of exhibition openings all over Karachi it is always interesting to see artists who strike one as different and leave an impression. One always looks forward to seeing their work and the world through their eyes. However, engagement in an open discussion is crucial in order to understand the work better. ARTstudy was held at the CANVAS Gallery where the artist couple had been showing their work over the last two weeks. Visitors were curious and questions were asked about Ahsan Jamal's large and serene landscapes in charcoal, which seemingly spoke about the lack of color in life. Jamal's response to one of the questions asked in this context was the fact that nothing pleasing has remained around him. The views from his balcony are both mundane and upsetting. There is a general sense of depravity and gloom in his work, perhaps also reflected in his manner, though he talks candidly as if trying to rebel against his own circumstances. Sikander took on the debate articulately and carefully. She briefly spoke about her own work which stemmed from her fixation with and eventual breaking away from the vasli material (the standard surface for miniature paintings). While studying she decided to use old books as her surface and she paints different symbols and images on the covers or inside her collected books. One book had a rhinoceros rampaging out of the page towards the viewer. Others had paper planes covered with headlines, like folded pieces of newspaper. The work at times became explicitly political and when interrogated, Sikander responded by saying that she is simply not happy with the way things are in her country, and she cannot fix everything. Her work, in her opinion, is a way to vent a frustration she feels and it is the only way for her to deal with her frustration - through a kind of "documentation" of the situation. Some people disagreed with her and thought that rather than a documentation, the work is more of an intervention upon specific books, opened at specific chapters and painted over with specific things, thus a more pointed critique that demands a certain responsibility from the artist. On the whole the discussion was eventful as many questions were asked although some, in the end, still remain unanswered. (Ammad Tahir)
IVS Fine Art Thesis – Various Artists/Graduates in the Fine Art Dept.
19 students who had been struggling towards their thesis since the beginning of this year finally displayed their works and concerns that baffled most of the visitors and awed several others. A number of concerns came forth in the work including sexuality, repression, mythology, distortion, secrecy, opulence and desire. Vasl ART Study gathered around most of the artists and cross questioned them individually to gain more insight into their works. This was perhaps one of the longest Study Groups because everyone wanted to add an opinion or two however we all settled down upon the conclusion that even though many graduates were hard working, not everyone will continue their artistic practice for too long except for a few passionate ones.
SEE/SAW – Quddus Mirza and Talpur at Canvas
As the students, mentors, critics, writers and collectors entered the gallery space beginning to absorb the works; Quddus Mirza was already sitting and waiting for his audience. The talk began with several questions posed at Mirza about the formal qualities of his work which he candidly dismissed by saying that he’s not a student of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. The point of contention which developed later on was Mirza’s argument that he paints purely for the physical pleasure of the act and has no thought or intellectual musings to offer. Despite several attempts made by students to instigate the conceptual elements in the work Mirza refused to engage in any conversation. But his work coupled with Talpur’s spoke volumes.
Sub Kuch Chalta hai – Aamir Habib at ART Chowk
Aamir Habib’s work revolves around different political scenarios in the country and mostly makes fun of the political leadership, democratic processes and the government. Vasl ART Study met at the premises of the show where several art students, critics, senior artists and media persons had gathered to hold dialogues with the artist in question. The debate on whether the work was a façade or had some deeper meaning remained the focal issues throughout the duration of the study group; however, one could pin down a conclusion that despite using these explosive metaphors in his work Aamir Habib casually and satirically addresses them.
“Out of Balance”
A show of 10 talented visual artists, all fresh graduates, with the first batch of new works after their thesis. The work revolved around the theme out of balance. Vasl Art Study was held at the KSA gallery(karachi schoolof art ) where the show is being exhibited. Along with the ARTstudy group and the participating artists, a few senior practicing artists, art critics, art writers, curators, teachers and students took part in the discussion. A healthy debate ensued, in which the artists relayed their first experience of working on their own completely.
Vasl hosted the art study at VM Art Gallery for the ongoing show ‘8th Emerging Talent ’09’, which showcased
the selected works of fresh art graduates of 2009, from art institutes all over Pakistan. An active discussion ensued about conceptual backgrounds and perceptions, as well as the different schools of thought followed by institutions, between some of the participating artists and the audience which consisted of the Vasl Art study group, a few practicing senior artists, art critics and lawyers, among others. The discussion seemed to have provided the artists with some more insight into their work which will help them in their work in the future.
Dear Diary was a group show of 10 young and promising visual artists who either work with themselves as a subject or tranformed their work into an autobiographical for this particular show. VASL Art Study got together at Poppy Seed along with a few artists showing work at the gallery to discuss the origins, concepts and future possbilities of the work. The conversation was geared towards critical apreciation and after much analysis and debate all of the artists seemed to have gained an insight into their work which will hopefully them in their future endeavors.
The latest ArtStudy, hosted by the VM Art Gallery in the wake of the Emerging Talent ’09 exhibition, centered around the quality and nature of the work being exhibited, and how it reflected the changes in art education. Different approaches to art education were discussed, as well as flaws within the current system and possible solutions. The exhibiting students from the Karachi School of Art, Karachi University, and the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture attended, as well as the host Riffat Alvi, the Vasl working group and several artists attended.
Diasporic Residency Artist's study group at Indus Valley school of Art and Architecture
Ideas surrounding the diasporic experience in relation to the perception and atittudes towards art produced from the diaspora were discussed. Moreover other aspects the discussion touched upon were sterotyping of the other and the value in being diasporic and the definition of diaspora itself in question were debated.
It was attended by the residency artists, Vasl working group, art critic Nafisa Rizvi, Adnan Madani and the renowned writer Mohammed Hanif participated in this investigation.
On her recent visit to Karachi - filming her project - Vasl ARTstudy has invited Sophie Ernst to share work and speak with the group.
Ernst lives between Netherlands, India and Pakistan and has been teaching new media at BNU past 4 years.
She exhibited in the National Art Gallery inaugural and Pakistan pavilion at Art Dubai and her recent work also shown at the RGS London, investigates the socio-historical space of Pakistan and partition
Sophie Ernst - Canvas - 1st September 2008
At the VM Art Gallery, started in 2002 by Riffat Alvi completes its 6th round this year.
ARTstudy meets this time to investigate main aspects of the work showcased and discuss factors aligned with its production.
This is a good opportunity to look at the institutional differences across Pakistan and their academic temperaments that aim to forge the emerging and the new in our context.
At VM Art Gallery - 30th June 2008
13th MAY 2008
Clay Clan II, Ceramic Art and Artists Today
Kaif Ghaznavi, Aasim Akhtar, Niilofar Farrukh, Riffat Alvi
At VM ART Gallery - 13th May 2008
This was an occasion where artists and attendees heard writer/artist/curator Quddus Mirza's talk candidly about his work and life. This took place during Quddus Mirza's work on exhibit at the Canvas Gallery in which he spoke about his hiatus from painting, the act of painting itself, his views on writing versus the visual and aspects that were directly related to art in Pakistan today.
Quddus Mirza - Canvas - May 2008
ART UNDER THE DICTATORSHIP by A.R.Nagori
'Art, Artists and Politics'
In relation to the current movement against Musharaf’’s regime, in which questions have been raised about the relationship of art and artists to politics - A R Nagori was invited to present his paper at the VASL Study which he had read at the Goethe Institute in the past. The text raised similar questions in the context of Zia Ul Haqs martial law.
29th February 2008 at Fomma
The group met at THE SECOND FLOOR to discuss issues regarding NATIONAL ART GALLERY, its impact and its future.
National Gallery: A beginning by Niilofur Farrukh
National Art Gallery Tour by VASL
26th of October 2007, at THE SECOND FLOOR T2F.
The text reviewed Seema Nusrat’s Solo show of her tie sculptures.
The group met at the V.M ART gallery while the work was on display.
31st of August 2007, at the V.M Art gallery.
The study group was held on the exhibition “Sohni Dharti” initiated by Adeela Suleman (VASL)
The group met at the Arts Council of Pakistan while the work was on display and discussed the issues raised on Pakistani identity and nationality with reference to the works displayed.
13thof August 2007, at the Arts Council of Pakistan.
Born to be.... by Simone Wille
The text was taken from Abdullah Syeds Solo Show Catalouge-Born To Be.....
21st of June 2007, at the VM ART Gallery.
Heavenly Ornaments by Iftikhar Dadi
The text was taken from Naiza Khans Solo Show Catalouge-Heavenly Ornaments.
the group met at the canvas gallery while the work was on display and the artist shared her views on the article and on her works.
27th of April 2007, at the CANVAS Gallery.
Islamic Art at a Crossroads., by CoCo Ferguson
the text was selected from the Middle Eastern Art Magazine Bidoun.
30th March 2007, at the FOMMA DHA Art Center.
FITTINGS INTO ART by Quddus Mirza
The text was taken from the Adeela Suleman solo shows catalouge "Confinement".
The group met at the commune while the work was on display to discuss her work in light with Quddus’s appraisal on Suleman.
Monday the 19th, February, 2007 at the Commune.
Commune Artists Colony, Sadiq Godown, Miskeen Gali, Off Old Queens Road, Karachi.
Evaluating Identity in Pakistani Art Today by Simone Wille
Pakistani Art & its South Asian Identity by Quddus Mirza
Friday the 12th,of Januray, 2007 at the VASL flat.
Now you see it, now you don’t by Quddus Mirza
The text was taken from the catalouge for the BODY show curated by Amin Gulgee.