And So It Happened

Taaza Tareen 14

February 21 – April 1, 2022

with Lujane Pagganwala, Tooba Ashraf, Ume Laila, Zainab Zulfiqar &

Nimra Khan (art writer in residence)

And So It Happened’ is the 14th iteration of Vasl Artists’ Association’s flagship Taaza Tareen artists’ residency program, which began on February 21, 2022 and will culminate with an exhibition at The Gallery T2F. The four artists and art writer in residence were selected from over sixty applicants from across Pakistan.

Taaza Tareen is Vasl’s annual residency which was founded in 2005. It was devised as a stepping-stone for fresh graduates from various Pakistani art institutions who are in need of support in order to build their ideas into careers, early in their practice. Taaza Tareen residencies have supported over 80 artists at formative stages of their professional life. Each year, one exceptional Taaza Tareen artist is awarded the Vasl-Khurram Kasim Art Foundation (KKAF) Research Grant, selected by a panel of entrenched art professionals.

 Vasl is proud to present the artists in residence: Karachi-based Lujane Pagganwala, and Lahore-based Tooba AshrafUme Laila and Zainab Zulfiqar. Along with the Art Writer in Residence, Karachi-based Nimra Khan. The resulting explorations, research and work made during the residency will be exhibited in Taaza Tareen 14 And So It Happened at the Gallery T2F from March 28th to April 1st 2022. 

And So It Happened brings together four artists in residence, to examine the ways in which memories have assisted in the construction of knowledge, beliefs, desires, values and fantasies. Through their engagement with an unfamiliar space the artists have re-contextualized their individual practices in an alternate framework, approaching it through a new conceptual lens. Thus they launch investigations into the notion of time, space, and the various forms and manifestations of memory – in culture, oral and literary history, inherited identity, communal and societal structures, and the architecture of the city itself. In doing so, they make connections between past and present to examine collective, societal memories, recalling, retracing and giving a renewed presence to the past.

The interaction of time and memory is expressed through explorations of space – personal, temporal, physical, socio-political, imagined and metaphorical – that allows the artists to contextualize, process and resolve personal and/or collective traumas. Conversations around communal marginalization and constructs of social division and othering are instigated and explored through the evolving physical structures of the city, held in communal memory. At the same time, another form of generational trauma and othering is processed and vocalized through the formation of a safe space that emerges from a language of stylization, absurdity and chaos, extracted from an amalgam of theoretical research and memory, which is at once familiar yet isolating in order to create a sense of empathy in the viewer.

The notion of space becomes more palpable in structures where it presents as both subject and medium. Through an intersection of materiality and memory drawing from nostalgia, barriers between people, objects, spaces, and time are broken, fusing them to give birth to infinite new spaces of experience. Notions of nostalgia are dismantled, expanding investigations into borrowed memory and generational experiences in identity formation to look at collective identity and the creation of nationalist rhetoric and twisted notions of masculinity by examining literary historical narrative.

(Text by art writer in residence, Nimra Khan)

Lujane Pagganwala

Lujane Pagganwala is a multidisciplinary artist based in Karachi, Pakistan. She graduated from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, with a Bachelor’s in Fine Art and majored in sculpture and new media art.

Pagganwala’s work revolves around the idea of space, tangible and intangible, physical and metaphysical. She tends to create work that engulfs the audience and provokes them to interact with the artwork.

Artist Statement

In our dogmas of self-magnanimity, we are fleeting beings of a verse. Grasping slithers in the timeframe, to baptize her. A call for centrifugal ruptures, or to strip away. One by one. It is gone and she is.. Convolutions in the mainframe cause only deterioration in the third space.

Markers of construct

Dormant awakers

 

Swift inhibitions

In timely restorations

 

It is back but she is..

Constructions in an ideal, relentless and free

Dry your tears now

She is a deer. 

Tooba Ashraf 

Tooba Ashraf is a Lahore-based fine artist and aspiring social scientist. Ashraf received a distinction in Fine Arts from the National College of Arts in 2018. She recently submitted her M.Phil. dissertation in Cultural Studies. She is now investigating the role of memory in shaping collective identity in historical, cultural, and political contexts. She took part in the Tasweer Ghar Art Residency in Lahore. Tooba’s work has been shown in a number of exhibitions throughout Pakistan since 2016.

Artist Statement

Within her practice, Tooba’s particular interests lie in the role of memory and its import towards the building of nationhood. Her research-based works examine the influence of international geopolitics on the country’s historical narrative, and how these are constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed. According to her objective interpretations, Muslim nationalism was developed in a variety of means, particularly through the use of collective memory within the Indo-Pak subcontinent.

Tooba believes that Muslim nationalism developed in South Asia at a transitional period in history, the moment at which the newly invented printing press completely transformed our consumption of news media, where paper and text became the popular medium for propagating political and nationalist ideals to the general population. As paper became this major medium of mobilization of the masses, in her current project Tooba plays with paper and those significant hues and colors associated with South Asian Muslim nationalism. Each of her pieces represents a figurative link between the physical materiality of paper and her emotional attachment to the national past. She reimagines the concept of nationalism using abstract paper pulp forms, which are oftentimes repetitious, sometimes abrasive, permanently skewed, and unabashedly impactful like the echoes of the narratives that are their inspiration.

Ume Laila

Ume Laila is a Lahore-based artist. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Punjab University College of Arts and Design, Lahore, 2016 and completed her Masters in Visual Arts from the National College of Arts, Lahore, 2020. Laila is a multidisciplinary artist who has participated in numerous group shows nationally.She was part of Lahore-based art residencies Karbath 01 and Tasweer Ghar Residency and also the Imago Mundi Project, Italy, in 2018.

Artist Statement

“My work tends to explore Karachi’s portrayal from an observer’s perspective, where alienation and the otherness of marginalized communities are key motifs within my sculptures. The structures that encapsulate these communities are both hidden and visible within Karachi, the massive fences, partitions, and railings that were used to protect these communities from violence within the city, now contribute to their isolation. Transforming the organically made architecture into a more cold and clinical place, once these enclosures arrive and cut through them.

The work also represents moments of reformation through the construction and deconstruction of architecture and through it the lives and stories of people. These fragmented sculptures delve into the present city and its conflicting narratives that simultaneously exist.”

Zainab Zulfiqar

Zainab Zulfiqar is a visual artist and a photographer, her art practice revolves around ritualistic flashbacks and nostalgia while coping with the invasions of safe spaces within families, generational trauma, and the documentation of how these systems affect an individual. She is particularly interested in how isolation, surveillance, and the absence of queer narratives have contributed to changing her experiences of space, time, and memory.She utilizes traditional South Asian miniature references to create a fantastical narrative that is unrestricted and helps combine the past with the contemporary while creating a unique safe space.

Artist Statement

“My work revolves around ritualistic flashbacks, and negative nostalgia while coping with the invasions of safe spaces within families, and generational trauma, documenting how these systems affect an individual. I am particularly invested in how isolation, surveillance, and the absence of queer narratives have contributed to changing my experiences of space, time, and memory. In these particular works, I have tried to explore how the indoctrination of heteronormative structures are a source of isolation, particularly within the family unit. Through the recontextualization of my own memories I cope with these collective histories being weaved within a generation and what it feels like to feel alienated, the fear of being othered, while still going through the familiar and the mundane.”

Nimra Khan

As a form of recording the practices of the artists in residence, Nimra Khan, from Karachi, was introduced to the residency as the Writer in Residence. Nimra Khan is an independent art critic and curator. She graduated with a BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 2012. She contributes critical reviews and discourse on Pakistani art for various publications, including Dawn EOS magazine, ArtNow Pakistan, Youlin Magazine, The Friday Times, Newsline, Nigaah Art Magazine, and The Karachi Collective. She curated her first exhibition in November 2019, Becoming a Woman at Chawkandi Art Gallery. She was the recipient of the Honorable Mention for the AICA Incentive Prize for Young Art Critics 2021. She was also part of the KB Discursive Committee for KB19 and the study group South-South Critical Dialogue by Karachi Biennale Trust.

Artist Statement

“Through my interactions, conversations, observations and contemplations during this residency, certain visual responses have emerged which encapsulate the artists themes and narratives. Picking up on the notions of memory, space, identity, materiality, layering and repetition which recur in each artist’s works, the idea of memory, especially collective memory, as a binding force took shape. Our histories, cultures, rituals and beliefs spanning generations are held in our memories, shaping identities and defining our present. Are we a product of our memories or do we have the choice to break free?”

Supported by

ODD BIRD ART
HBL Art Collection
Shamain Akbar
Shehnaz Ismail