“I have been teaching at the National College of Arts (NCA) since 1976. After viewing these designs, all I can say is that the artist has made clay look better than gold,” said Mahmoodul Hasan Jafri.
Shazia Mirza’s clay jewellery exhibition titled Earth, Body and Cycle, commenced on Thursday at the NCA’s Zahoorul Akhlaq Gallery.
The artist showcased 28 handcrafted jewellery designs.
Mirza said she had done her bachelor’s in ceramics in 1993. She currently heads the Ceramics Department.
She said she had learnt jewellery-making during her postgraduate studies at SUNY New Paltz, New York.
“I was on a scholarship so I decided to take as many courses as possible. I have two areas of expertise; ceramics and jewellery-making. In my work for this exhibition, I have turned clay into jewellery,” she said.
Mirza said she had conceived the idea last month during an art residency in Fuping, China, where she worked with clay from Xian region.
She said the clay was similar to that used to make the famous terra cotta warriors.
“Eight of the designs in the collection were produced in China for local tourists,” she said.
Mirza said her work had been displayed at the Scandinavian Museum at FuLe International Ceramic Art Museum.
“In this exhibition, I have focused on design. These designs are being mass produced to be sold at affordable prices. These are meant for the common man who values art and should be able to afford it,” she said.
NCA Principal Murtaza Jafri was also present for the opening ceremony.
“The work produced by NCA’s faculty is a source of inspiration for its students. Students get tired of being told what to do. They find inspiration in their mentor’s innovations,” he said.
“When art teachers exhibit their work, they showcase the essence of the institution,” he said.
“When you hear ceramics, you think of pottery. By using clay, Mirza has shown that one does not need metals or precious stones to create something valuable. It is evident that it is the quality of design that matters and not the material used,” he added.
The exhibition will close on October 9.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2015.