A group of 12 artists centered their artwork on material, some of them literally and some verbally and chose Artchowk the Gallery to bring it for public viewing. Artchowk is known for introducing new artists with innovative ideas in their practice. The group included Baakh Pirzada | Changez Basir | Hasnain Ali Noonari | Farrukh Adnan | Fraz Mateen | Ivy Hon Mei Chan | Marium Kamal | Nasir Ansari | Raheela Abro | Ramez Rehman | Sadia Jamal | Sikander Athar Butt; the show was curated by Varda Nisar
Varda said that at the core of it, all materials are made of the same thing, atoms and molecules. The underlying language within each and every material is therefore inherently the same. However, it is the outward characterization of these materials which distinguishes them from each other. Our own reading of these materials adds meaning to it. Our perception and the utilitarian use of that particular material can change the purpose; it can transform it in one’s eye thus giving it meaning beyond the obvious. It is no wonder that the artist, sensitive and observant of all that surrounds him has taken to new and unorthodox materials. He is simply pushing the line in all directions when it comes to expressing himself and his thoughts; New materials, new concepts, and new techniques – nothing is off the table anymore in terms of its usage.
In this particular exhibition, we are looking at the unorthodox materials that artists are now employing in their works, giving it a language that has never before been used. These artists are not only innovators but also developers of a whole new vocabulary – a vocabulary that is an aspect of their identity even. The imagination that is required to be able to see a material in all that it has the potential to be, and at the same time having the ability to communicate the thought process of the artist remains the focus of this exhibition.
Abro’s “Note Book” work was a replacement of SIM (Subscriber’s Identity Module). SIM represents Identity; working on Note Book she said that due to lack of education in our country ,she wished that a Note Book signified our Identity in which all of us might well write our own bright future.
Abro holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA Hons) 2006-2009, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan with Major in miniature painting, Minor in print making. She has been exhibiting her works at home and abroad. Her presentation at a group show entitled Tanao at Chawkandi left a mark on the viewers.
The beauty of Rehman’s concept lies in the endless possibilities that are created with the play of natural and artificial light. There’s diffusion of light within his work that has a transcendental effect on the space and the viewer. He places his work in natural environment, in light to show the connection of art and nature together. He has placed his work in the dark to show how it reflects the colors and shadows with light passing through the convex, concave and earth ball mirror.
He said, “My Inspiration of Mirror and Reflection has deep roots inside me. I look for reflection. That basically reflects my thought process and how I perceive the relation of nature and sunlight. I have attempted to create illusions of the self in my mirror work. I believe that reflection transfers the beauty of nature and light.
Reman obtained a Bachelor of Arts 2012 Indus Valley School of Art. He is also trained in Computer Microsoft Office – (Word, Excel, Access, Power Point,). He has knowledge of Photography - (Adobe Lightroom). And editing – (Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier), Sculptures, Painting, choreography and directions for Print and Electronic Media.
Sadia Jamal’s material is based on her every day experiences. She believes that whatever is happening around us becomes a major part of our lives, our approaches and our thinking. Any incidence that we encounter, no matter what it may be, becomes a part of our visual vocabulary and impacts our emotional, intellectual and creative frame of mind. We are in a society where we are adopting things very quickly and this is impacting our values and distorting our physical forms and questioning our existence and identity. Birds have been used in her work as a metaphor for society.
Born and raised in Karachi Pakistan, Sadia Jamal is a visual artist; she acquired her initial degrees from the Karachi School of Art and Karachi University. Practicing artists, Sadia was previously associated with VM art gallery as an assistant curator and actively volunteered her time in the well being of the society. Sadia ‘s work revolves around the ethics and contemporary issues of society and her interest in exploring new forms. Mediums of expression in visuals furnishes her endeavor into new language and meanings that takes her work and vocabulary into new horizons. Currently, Sadia is a full time studio artist and an art teacher. Her work at Artchowk was an installation entitled ‘Cloud’ made from treated Steel wool and steel net.
She has participated in many shows including “Salam Bombay” curated by Jasmine Wahi, at Twelve Gates Gallery Philadelphia, USA; Miami Asian Art Fair “Salam Bombay” a show curated by Jasmine; "SKETCHBOOK" , a Group show at KSA Gallery, Karachi; Attaining Heights a group show at the VM Art Gallery, Karachi; ‘Movement’ a Group Show at Art Chowk the Gallery , Karachi; ‘Mad In Karachi’ 3D a Group Show at Art Chowk ; Drawing Connection, Group show at Siena Art Institute Siena Italy and many more.
Jamal has participated in workshops including  4 Days Life Drawing Workshop for art teachers By Australian Artist;  Teacher’s Training Program (TTP) organized by Foundation Public School;  Art Attack workshop designed for art teachers at teachers training;  V.M Art Gallery Rangonwala, Karachi, conducted by Canadian Artist and  ASNA Ceramics Workshop, Karachi at Tariq Javed Studio.
Sikander Athar Butt
Karachi based Butt obtained his Bachelor's in Fine Arts from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. He is the Director of Photography for feature film "Azaad" (set to be released winter of 2014 in cinemas across Pakistan). He held the position of Post Editor at H20 production house. He is a freelance photography and music composer. Currently he is working as a Graphic Illustrator at JWT Karachi. He has been exhibiting his artworks at various art galleries in group shows.
Butt remarks: "The mind is everything. What you think, you become." – Buddha
First they will take your thoughts and then play with your dreams. You never know how 'they' will mold you. Like a puppeteer they will play you, will take all that you think is yours. Make you a part of a well-orchestrated melody, a bleak melody of servitude. It will transform you, like a free bird without wings. Through you, they weave a cage around you, trapping your spirit, in your desolated mind; A society of mannequins all dancing to this eerier tune. To resist is to break the symphony. The question I leave you with is will you dance?
Pirzada’s work was an effort to portray a feeling associated with female species, the feeling of nurturing a life in her womb. His work represented the inner self of every woman. When a woman gets pregnant, she gets a feeling of the existence of another life in her womb. When a woman is deprived of conceiving a child due to natural causes or medical problem, she suffers depression and sadness surrounds her. In this case, society’s reaction to a woman’s deprivation is not kind. Pirzada has tried to illustrate it on canvas.
Karachi based Bakh Pirzada graduated from Visual Studies Department, University Of Karachi – Bachelor in Fine Arts 2012. She is efficient in Painting (miniature painting/oil/acrylic/water), Sculpture, Drawing, Photography, Hand embroidery, and computer software including Adobe Photoshop. She is Familiar with design concepts and techniques used in furniture, landscapes and set design, fluent in three languages ( English, Urdu, Sindhi)
Basir has always been fascinated by manufactured objects and more so when the objects reach their end, they are discarded, mercilessly; they become part of the urban debris of our cities. His installation was part of a narrative. The sofa frame that volunteered to serve as a vessel to this artwork was one which had been reupholstered and remade countless number of times since the mid fifties and was part of a set of four. He said that with our natural resources dwindling at an alarming rate, it is about time that we step back from our consumer centric lifestyles and take a minute to appreciate the beauty of objects that we taken for granted and discard the moment we no longer have conventional use for them.
Basir graduated from Coventry University with a degree in industrial product design in 2013. After graduation, he worked briefly for a local furniture manufacturer where he caught a glimpse of how design was developed and executed in Karachi. Not satisfied with what he saw, Changez switched to more of a hands on approach and currently works as a product developer for Coalesce Design Studio, running their prototyping workshop and helping them launch the first product design consultancy in Pakistan - Barben. He also moonlights as an interior and furniture designer.
Social and cultural impacts inspire Adnan. He constantly attempts in his work to show the lines which connect and develop a relationship. This relationship is classified as personal perception and fabricates the abstract experiences.
Lahore based Adnan holds a Bachelor in Communication Design from National College of Arts, Lahore. He has experience in graphic designing and visualize at an advirtising agency. He has been participating in art exhibition in Lahore.
A diploma holder in Fine Arts from Karachi School of Art (Major in Sculpture), Mateen’s sculpture was made with Latex, Wood, Fiber Glass, Terracotta, Marble, Stone, and Paper. He is a Freehand Drawing and 3D Design teacher at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture Karachi since 2006. He is a lecturer at Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design. He has participated in numerous exhibitions.
Hasnain Ali Noonari.
Noorani entitled his work as “Hazaaron Khwahishen aesi.......” He says that wishes are meant to be fulfilled. Some people simply want the fulfillment of their wishes; future belongs to those who believe in action.
Noorani holds a diploma in Fine Arts from The Culture Center Islamic Republic of Iran - Hyderabad (2009-10).He has been participating in group exhibition in Karachi. He has attended two works shops- on with Mohammad Ali Bhatti in 2007 on “Portrait Painting” and the other a Curatorial Workshop with Vasl Artists’ Collective in 2012. Currently he is a Visiting Faculty Member at University of Karachi and Sindh Madressatul Islam University, Karachi. In 2013 he taught at Center of Excellence in Art and Design, MUET, Jamshoro; 2010-2012 taught at Karachi school of arts, Karachi; 2012 Guest lecture on figure drawing at Iqra University, Karachi and 2004 Fine Arts instructor at Defence Cultural Centre, Karachi.
Ivy Hon-Mei Chan
Chan, born in Beijing, graduated from Pui Ching Middle School, 2003; obtained a degree of Bachelor of Arts in The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Major in Fine Arts) 2006; and obtained Master of Fine Art in Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London 2009. Currently she is working and lives in Barcelona, Spain.
Being an artist, my professional practice is tightly related to my living experiences, as well as a specific language for me to address my identity and response to the society. Applying contemporary art to today’s society, it becomes not only a tool of individual’s expression but also the specific language of artists to speak and react to the civil community.
Being an artist and part of the society, I bring art to people to provide opportunities to confront and experience their lives in a different way.
Reconfiguration, transformation and metamorphosis
To study the characteristics and cultural meanings of materials and objects, I realise that nowadays people’s perceptions and attitudes of materials are always restricted by their limited experiences. People used to recognize, classify and employ materials in the ways they were familiar with. However, when I am looking at an object or a material, especially the quotidian ones, I tend to reconfigure and metamorphose them into totally different forms using my own imagination. This kind of interesting imagining continually refreshes my cognitive experiences and brings me new perceptions on world surrounding me. Thus I am interested in collecting objects in daily life, then transforming their characteristics and the forms of existence to become ‘uncanny’, in order to display the ‘familiar objects in unfamiliar scenes’. The audiences therefore will have a chance to ‘re-experience’ the objects, and how they related to the space. Materials now involved in my works are all everyday objects, including pencils, clocks, carpets, receipts, rice and lifebuoys etc.
Kamal was born in Karachi in 1990. She received a BFA from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. She has participated in “The City Where I belong," an exhibition of recent thesis works at the Karachi Literary Festival. Her other group shows include, V.M Gallery's Twelfth Emerging Talent exhibit, Amin Gulgee Gallery's Fresh, Koel Gallery's Slightly Lucid and Full Circle Gallery’s Deconstruct, all in 2014. She lives in Karachi and works as a curator for the Showcase.
Kamal says, “With the chaos and drama around, deep down inside, it's just another city. It is a pretty city with pretty lights trying to make it in this world. It is a city by the sea fighting to survive; a city that breaks and picks itself up; a city that's confused and doesn't know how to get out of its troubles; a city deep into its own shadow. When, I began working for this show, I tried to pick up material that reminded me of Karachi's nature. With my pieces, I've tried to show the bitter sweet reality of Karachi with the play of shadows in relation to the material”.
Nasir Ansari was born in Karachi 1987, Pakistan. He works and lives in Karachi. He has done B.F.A from Karachi University. His practice includes 3d sculpture, and installations. His work communicates issues faced by the commoner in daily life.
Ansari Quotes Iqbal’s verse: “You are known as Syed, and Mughal, you call yourselves Pathan; But can you truly claim as well the name of Mussalman?”
He says, “The past events of Pakistan and the recent happenings of our country are not much different. We are standing on unchanged grounds. There is a saying that if the intention is upright then culmination will be favorable. But if we look at Pakistan's current issues people are constructing their own mosque, killing their own people, and ruining their own state's assets. There is no righteousness. Corrupt endeavors are strong and they are rooted in our society's culture. My work practice is based on Plexiglas sheet layers and drilling method to draw a picture of my country’s circumstances. People build a country. Through drilling I symbolize the gaps, the holes in our nation that are the result of a constant struggle, the sectarianism, the fight among ourselves.