Even though the old elevator from the Nusserwanji building of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVSAA) has long been out of order, it has managed to grab the attention of the students who have walked through the institution’s halls. The fact that it was the highlight of the fourth alumni collective at the institution proves that it maintains a strong presence in the minds of those who have moved on into the real world.
Members of the alumni showcased their work at an exhibition which was opened to the public on Saturday, December 3. Babar Sheikh, who graduated about 15 years ago, had created an installation called ‘The Elevator that Never Died’. The Nusserwanji building, which once stood in Kharadar, had been dismantled and transported brick by brick to the IVSAA campus where it was reconstructed. The imported elevator which came with the building was never put into working order at the new site. Sheikh’s exhibit depicted how he and his colleagues had managed to work around the fact that the elevator was out of order. His artwork had been created by hanging baskets from the roof and utilised the escalator’s wall as a screen. Sound effects were also used to depict communication in the haveli-style courtyard.
“The idea was to show how we used to transport our materials from one floor to another with the help of baskets. The echo helped communication and coordination between floors as the material was moved about,” Sheikh said. He added that that he likes to use moving structures in his artwork and that this has become his distinctive style of architecture.
About 48 members of 18 batches had brought 105 exhibits to the collective. The work included 2D architecture, accessories, jewelry, painting and ceramic work. Not only was it an opportunity for the graduates to catch up with their batch mates, but it also depicted the mindset of the new generation of artists. Yusra Zameer, a student from the department of architecture, said that seeing the work of seasoned and established graduates not only gave her the opportunity to see how their styles were evolving, but also gave her an idea of the competition that lies ahead.
Iqbal Alavi, a social activist and an art collector, found the exhibition to be ‘vibrant and fresh’. “Even in such chaotic times if you get to see an object of beauty, you get inner peace,” he said.
Graduating batch shows off its work
The theses of the batch of 2011, which had already been graded, were also on display at the institution. The students of the department of architecture had done a particularly remarkable job – about half of them had bagged distinctions for their viable designs. One of the gold medalists, Ilma Bushra Wasty, had addressed the theme of access to information within Karachi by constructing a model of the Mangal bazaar at University road with one addition- she had built a library next to it. She said that the site would be an ideal place for a library and would improve access to information. Her peer, Asma, had designed a ‘half-way’ house which could serve as a buffer space for juvenile delinquents before they are released back into society.
Out of 29 students in the department of communication design, three had managed to obtain a distinction. One of the students had created animation on ethnic conflict and another had made a book narrating pressures a girl faces in our male-dominated society. Yet another had made a board game on Pakistan.
In the textile department, six students bagged distinctions. Amna Tariq Moten, a distinction holder, took Bandhni tye-dye practice to another level by using natural dyes for stoles and scarves. “I used colours of ‘katha’, ‘anaar’, henna, tea, coffee and ‘chalia’. My artwork is deeply inspired by sea shells” she said.
The interior design department had one distinctive project among six. Umul Baneen Mirza had made a hypothetical project turning a department of the University of Karachi into a school for government officers on lines of Harvard. “It shows how an interior space can influence the psyche of next generation government officers and how our politicians can use the explosion of information by media to glorify their and Pakistan’s image,” she said. Other projects included a high-end fine dine restaurant, an unconventional spa and a retail music stores.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2011.
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