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A state of current affairs; The 2019 IVSAA Degree show

The works of 23 graduates were displayed at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture early this December. As always, the outgoing batch displays a body of work which comprises of visuals created after a yearlong process. The graduating batch had an immense variety of artworks, taking into consideration the play with scale, color, medium and most interestingly, the use of multimedia as a great number of visuals comprised of sound, video and light.


An eye-catching body of work by Sadia Safder comprised of visuals created through wire mesh. Various landscapes were made which documented the life in certain areas of Karachi, particularly the routes of Saddar and Korangi. Her work discusses the process of shifting and change, since the artist had to move from Defence to Korangi after sixteen years; the visuals having a blurred and murky texture are possibly symbolic of the artist’s process of adapting to newer surroundings. The grainy and faded texture of the mesh also seems to invoking a sense of nostalgia, as if the artist’s recollection of her past is dissolving into these layers of mesh making her present setting coming into prominence.


Sahl Shoiab Motiwala’s body of work, which was titled Here They Lie, consisted of charcoal drawings discussing her tendency of creating imaginative patterns in objects where none seem to be existing, a tendency known as Pareidolia. Putting emphasis on the folds and textures of clothes, the artist created human faces and figures, reflecting upon the thinking pattern of humans in which they form certain beliefs attached to specific objects[1]. The faces depicted in the artist’s work seem to be those belonging to certain creatures, a possible reflection upon the artist’s mental construct; the expressions of the figures depict agony and horror, which could not have been portrayed any better without the use of the extreme darks and hues of gray that help contain the focus.


Abeer Arshad’s installation titled Fool’s Paradise discussed the concept of environmental pollution; if observed from afar, they seem like vines or fungus but as you observe closely, they are nothing but metal bottle caps. The deceptive look of the shrubs displayed against the wall shed light on the fact that how environmental destruction is insidious, inconspicuous and highly rigid, taking the use of metal and wires into consideration which are hard and strong materials.


Samra Mekhri’s paintings which were titled Through the Looking Glass comprised of miniature sized visuals that explored her hobby of observing and capturing her surroundings through the camera lens. Her visuals, which had a muted color palette consisted of scenes from Karachi city that were depicted through the use of distortion, making them look like actual photographic images. The visuals would not have been more engaging if it were not for the small scale paintings; not only do they keep the focus contained but leave the viewer to think about his daily life and surroundings which one does not give importance to, considering the occupied and busy life of Karachi city and which the artist has captured beautifully in her language.


Lastly, Kiran Saleem’s sculptural pieces titled WasHer discussed an incident in which the artist was being watched without her consent.[2] The artist had used metal washers to create tough and solid draperies but at the same time, those pieces were fragile due to their construction, a possible reflection upon the nature of women comprising of both these characteristics despite being complete opposites. The see-through drapery could also be reflective of the voyeuristic male gaze and this particular form of art work was possibly made to be presented as a shield for the female body as it is still something that lacks security in today’s world.


Despite shedding light on the works of a few artists, there was an overall interesting variety of art works displayed at this year’s degree show which were not only visually appealing but they have also paved way for other emerging artists to experiment and create their own individual language to engage and communicate with the viewers.








  1. Motiwala Sahl, Here They Lie, artist statement from degree show, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, 2018.
  2. Saleem Kiran, WasHer, artist statement from degree show, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, 2018.

[1]Motiwala Sahl, Here They Lie, artist statement from degree show, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, 2018.

[2] Saleem Kiran, WasHer, artist statement from degree show, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, 2018.


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