Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your practice?
I started my journey of printmaking in 1982, as a student of Fine Art in National College of Arts Lahore, I have never looked back. In 1986 Bartolomeu Dos Santos (Barto) came to Lahore from The Slade School of Arts to help set up the new etching studio in addition to the existing Lithography studio at The National College of Arts. As the only final year student in Printmaking I was ecstatic to assist him in this endeavor. I was trained in the traditional techniques and while at the University of Hawaii for MFA, I felt the need to challenge the medium. I experimented with combining prints with bronze lost wax castings, a print that was 18” x 24’ depicting architecture of the walled city of Lahore as metaphor for gender relations.
What are you currently working on?
I am fascinated by the editioning of prints that can be viewed as a repeat, not unlike a patchwork square for a quilt. I have been experimenting with weaving and sewing prints into patchwork installations to expand my ideas. My concepts revolve around the emotional upheaval of immigrating, a process of identification and belonging, the struggles of adjusting and adapting. Each strand of thread signifies severed roots resulting alternative ways to stabilize a bond with the new land and culture. The friendship quilt with the interlacing ribbon and star is a reoccurring image in my work as are other references, nuances and metaphors that are significant to me. I build the prints using multiple plates and techniques, these gently merge into the form of the quilt. I am experimenting with ways to assemble an instillation where the quilt is held together with the scaffolding of the threads and knots simultaneously delicate and strong. Making an image that starts to deconstruct yet each print will stand alone, at the same time be incomplete without the other.
How do you spend your time when you are at the studios?
I am using the time to collate the different mediums that I am working with including the recycled plastic material left over from shopping bags at the grocery stores and yarn that I have collected, experimenting with weaving, knitting and knotting, at the same time I have been sewing, folding, cutting and assembling prints. The studio is my place to reflect on the concepts and question the tenacity of ideas that take shape. The pleasure of working in a studio with other artist, discussing art, ideas and concepts with cups of tea is the highlight of being in a studio environment.
What are you hoping to achieve over the next year?
Besides expanding on my art practice, I want to actively work on finding ways of sharing my love of printmaking with the community through workshops and demonstrations. Over the years I have taken part in International Print Exchanges, I want to actively be involved with artists print exchanges in Oxford.
I would like to be more involved in the communities that live around the studio, in the coming year I want to find ways to document stories of immigration expanding on my research.
What can we expect to see in your exhibition of work at the end of the month?
Work in Progress.