Memories of Partition flooded through Karachi University’s visual studies department as Sara Hashmi displayed her final-year project.
Hashmi, who studied fine arts at the university, has been working with the idea of memory. For her project, she used invisible ink to draw sketches of migrants. The visitors, she said, have to use a torch to take a glimpse into the fading memories of those who witnessed independence in 1947. On display, she also had her grandfather’s 200-year-old betel nut cracker.
The project took about 10 months of her final year and she was focusing on the lives of the individuals after Partition and the mass migration to Pakistan. She interviewed more than 50 people who gave her a look into how land was distributed and identities changed.
“My idea was to rephrase their memories,” she said while going through sketches. She added that she had met many people who never returned to India after 1947.
“Watching them remember and bringing that into my work was the most difficult part of my research work,” she said. “Many of my case studies were not able to recall their childhood in India.”
KU’s final-year show also showcased work from the graphics, Islamic arts, textile designing and media arts graduates. The hall where the show was taking place had more than 20 stalls and was full of colours and bright lights. Urooj Ayub Vohra’s thesis was on vintage cars. As a part of her research, she visited exhibitions in Gujrat and Ahmedabad in India. While talking to The Express Tribune, she said that cars fascinated her.
Explaining her thesis, Amber Zehra said that she was working on deserts. She used fabric with different patterns to show the nomad life. She spent more than a year researching on her topic.
Zona Siddiqui, a textile graduate, went to more than 13 mazaars in Sindh and Punjab. She took six months to complete her research and said that she found the answers to a lot of her questions when she was doing her fieldwork. She said that the mazaar life and Sindhi culture had taught her a lot about living.
Alina Kulsoom studied Islamic architecture and used 1,607 pieces of crystals to write ‘Sami-ul-Aleem’ as her final year project. Another student, Rashmina said that she had used her work to depict the nature and oneness of our Creator by using ‘Diyar’ wood. Other textile students used bells, feathers, clocks, lanterns and wheels as a part of their final projects.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2014.