KARACHI: Sketches depicting human anatomy would not exactly whet your appetite, but when married with chocolate, they may make your mouth water.
For the past few weeks, Karachi-based designer Asma Javeri, 25, is making waves on social media with her illustrations of the human body intertwined with pieces of milk chocolate. ‘Choclatomy’ is an Instagram series that Javeri started when she hurt her back a few months ago and was on bed rest. Confined at home and not being able to go to the digital brand agency where she works, Javeri started the series out of boredom.
The thought that dictated what she was about to do stemmed from the decision she once had to make: to pursue medicine or art? “I chose art, but at the end of the day I’m still into medicine and the anatomy of the human body,” says Javeri, who is a graduate of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture with a degree in Communication Design. To make the sketches, Javeri first comes up with a basic line drawing on paper, with the chocolate placed on top. “Then I photograph it, and do the rendering and digital illustration detailing on the illustrating software ArtRage,” she explains.
In her write-up for the series, Javeri says she found herself in a bipolar relationship with illustration, coupled with a persistent fascination with life. “Choclatomy is just something that adds a little sugar to your timeline, hoping to sweeten your day, if not literally save lives,” she says. During the process she rediscovered her fascination with the human anatomy, the intricacies of the human body and the remarkable system that makes us function, such as the nerves, bones and joints, she says. “It’s a complex structure that I think about often — maybe because it reminds me that I’m a miracle when I feel like nothing,” explains Javeri.
The illustrations are not all about the delectable. There is no mistaking the dark undertones of her work, which belies her cheery side and offers some insight into the human tendency to dwell in shadows. “Every illustration of mine is a way to fill a gaping hole, represent a desire, something missing or an expression of an emotion that I can’t contain,” says Javeri, adding that she feels a sense of temporary fulfillment after finishing each piece. “This feeling is fleeting and when the fulfillment fades, I’m drawn to my illustration cave again.”
Ali Sidiki is a subeditor on the web desk of The Express Tribune. He tweets @alinajibsidiki
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, May 31st, 2015.