Like their first love, artists who have been to an art school never forget the experience of their degree show projects. Working in the studios shared by other graduating students teaches more than the mere matters of art. It gives a glimpse of the future life and trains an individual in survival tactics – necessary for being a practising artist. Thus the months and weeks spent making art during the final year become the first stone/stage towards building the big name, fame, prestige and power of an artist.
However the process of a degree show or thesis project plays what sort of part in shaping an artist is a curious phenomenon, because the work created in that phase indicatesthe beginning of an artist’s aesthetic concerns, dealt with in his/her later life/career. But often a creative individual also puts aside his/her training or experience of degree show/thesis project and finds new ways of expression. Art Now Pakistan aims to probe the importance of degree show project in making of an artist, as well as in contributing and changing the art of a society. In theIn Focus section, both essays, byRaziaSadik and Saira Sheikh (drawing from their associationwith the academia and close observation of art schools) examine the way new voices in art acquire their audiences, importance and permanence. M.H. Jafri’sin his Urdu essay approaches the same theme, extending it to the debate and difference of art and craft. A question that has intrigued, in many ways, people responsible for formulating the course of studies at art schools, which is significant in the development and growth of a young artist.
The role and contributions of art schools, art teachers, writers, media and galleries are pivotal not only in moulding a new artist, but these help him/her in discovering and devising a new vision, content and means to convey it. All of this come to a conclusion – or at a new beginning – on the degree shows held at the art schools of Pakistan. Hence in the review section reviews on the works of graduates from the Fine Arts Department of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Department of Visual Studies at the Karachi University and Department of Fine Arts at the National College of Arts are included. The photo essay also encompasses the process of making a student of art into a professional artist.
Even though if an artist is not attached to an art school or have been graduated some years ago, he/she is still learning and exploring new ideas, more on a personal level rather than in a formal environment. Sana Arjumand is one of those artists who are investigating other possibilities in/through their creative pursuits. In herProfile piece on Sana ArjumandCosima Brand provides this aspect of her art and personality.
The present issue includes book review on the monograph of ArpanKaur, a leading painter of her generation from the Indian Sub-Continent, as well as various other exhibition reviews, all confirming that it is the newness of art that seduces all of us – but more than anyone, the new kids on the block of art!