Horeen Amjad is a relatively young artist, well on her way to making a name for herself and her recent exhibition at the Pakistan National Council of Arts is a testimony to that.
Her displayed work was ceramic, clay-crafted and molded to perfection. It depicted some well-known and some unfamiliar yet grand architectural heritage sites of Pakistan. Her exhibition titled “Glory of the Past” did justice to many of the sites as the ceramic molded pieces hung on display in large, sturdy wooden frames. From the Badshahi Mosque to Qutbuddin Aibak’s tomb, her work had much to offer, but what really set her work apart from most artists that opt to showcase such buildings is her sharp eye for perspective.
Each piece isn’t just a simple ceramic model of a building from the front, but instead is modeled to show a unique angle of each building.
For instance, in one she crafts the corridor that leads to the prayer hall of the Badshahi Mosque while in another, she takes the side angle of the Shalimar Gardens. “I love working with clay because I enjoy the aspect of a challenge that is put into creating a three-dimensional model. It’s tricky working with clay becuase if you mess up even one line, the whole structure falls apart,” stated Amjad as she pointed out a particular piece and further explained the process.“ I personally visited all these sites. I would go there, choose a particular angle and then draw a sketch there on the spot and come back home and work on transferring the drawing onto clay. As I would mould the clay according to the sketch, all the colours (oxide stain paints) then used are completely original to the actual sites as I didn’t want to change anything,” she added.
Mostly accommodating the Punjab Mughal era locations, Amjad finds herself completely fascinated by the history of these buildings. “I love the timeless beauty they depict. I discovered so many places I never knew of, I wouldn’t simply go there and sketch, I would dig for information and find out the story behind each place. For me I felt like I had to do justice because of the rich history each place has.” Her research seems evident as she hands a thick portfolio of her work in which each art piece has a write up of the background and story written by her. Apart from the architectural sites, Amjad also showcases calligraphy and colourful ceramic mosaic tiles which also have a story behind them; for example one particular mosaic which is painted in cool colours of green and blue entwined with yellow flowers is actually a mosaic pattern that can be seen at the Lahore Fort, while another lime green tile with dark blue Arabic letters on it is a replica of the Wazir Khan’s Mosque tiles that are present on its walls. “I love how everything looks so fresh, yet gives a sense of storytelling, it’s almost as if history is being related through her work,” stated Hira, an avid art lover at the event.
The chief guest at the opening was Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira who said that young artists like Amjad have the ability to take the country forward. “It is amazing and commendable the work she has done and the effort she has put into it, by choosing a subject such as this she has managed to create an interest in these long forgotten sites,” he said.
The exhibition will continue till July 14 this month.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2012.
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