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NCA, Lahore Thesis Show 2018

Fine Arts Thesis display this year at NCA has been alike a landscape that serves to be both mythical as well as palpable in nature. Interestingly, each painting crosses the threshold of its canvas and so takes more than a few yards on the wall. Each artwork serve to be a gateway to another imaginary world, a world that spreads everywhere, in every possible direction: at the back of the painting & even on its each side. What we see of the students’ work, hanging there on the wall, is just a chunk of its meaning. The rest of the whole is what we as a viewer have to find by walking down the imagery lane. It won’t be wrong to say that Nca Thesis Display of 2018 indeed supports the proposition that Painting is a form of language that can be read like a prose or poetry. As Curtis Carter concludes, “Shapes act as syntactic elements in the languages of painting styles.” & so, with an aim to dive in the sea that each painting offered, I had to vist 15 spacious display spaces not for once but several times, as every time it gave me a new perspective and added more sense to my already perceived knowledge. Each hall offers a world of its own making the spaces altogether a magnificent galaxy of Fine Arts.

Starting off with minimalistic style of paintings the thesis work gradually transforms into grand narratives and provides a thought provoking imagery that revolves around both subjective and objective perspectives. After the four year graduation program, the thesis of 2018 very well portrays the well learnt techniques, coherent concepts and studious efforts done by the students. In addition, it reflects the hard work and supervision of the mentors who every year succeed in setting a new touchstone in terms of execution and concept by ensuring nothing is being recreated or plagiarized.

To begin with Miniature, thesis students played with the medium of wasli (handmade paper for miniature) in their own way with techniques like gouache, nimrang and siyah qalam. Zulfiqar Rind uses the metaphor of dog as black & white in his paintings and portrayed the aggression and terror dwelling in him deep inside, reflecting his childhood experiences. Rehmat Ullah uses a somewhat crumbled tracing sheet to cover the obscene images drawn with Gouache hence gives a new visual perspective to the idea of freedom of expression. Muhammad Jawad transfers the pages of newspaper with headlines on wasli and uses the technique of Nimrang making the pages little bit eligible yet vague. Howra Batool portrays the abyss of blast and destruction with the dark wall paintings and a projection in between that has been hanging from the ceiling with fish wires. The projection displays the human remnants in descending rows that are found after the deadly explosions. Muzna Mahmood’s collection of painting has been alike the sheets of x ray which captures every intrinsic and minute detail thus leaves the viewer awe-struck.

In paintings, Anas abbas chooses the frame of ordinary objects that we overlook in our daily lives and magnifies them, objects like, windows, door hooks & towel racks. Hassan Furqan paints plain walls on his canvas which have child made doodles, wall cracks and impressions of tape. Khubaib Irfan paints dream like paintings leaving white silhouettes of humans in between suggesting the presence of the ones invisible to naked eye. Syed Ali Rizvi adorns the four walls with huge charcoal paintings including figures of both men and women suggesting the traditions of a particular Islamic sect. Yaseen Khan uses small circular reflective sheet on canvas and plays with them on a larger space.

In Printmaking, Shehbaz Ahmed portrays a lonely woman sitting in a bedroom and in another,on a sofa. Despite the solitude the paintings are titled as I’m happy I & II. Another student, Khadija Khalid draws black mountains and composes them in a gothic style leaving the viewers with the struggle of dissecting each stroke.

In Sculpture, out of two struggle Hidayat Marwat makes brown human sculptures and presents them in two compositions. One is of the three thin men shirtless standing with their backs touching each others’ while their gestures and expressions suggest the state of helplessness and fear. Another composition is of a heap of mud where different human figures are half buried and half visible.

“Painting is mute poetry, and poetry is blind painting” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Walking through the passages, corridors and halls, one surely can hear the paintings speaking their heart out; telling each visitor of its tales and purpose. No matter how much you rely on your sight still you cannot ignore or forsake what is being said to you in a subtle and covert way.

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