Hafsa Nouman 

at Lake Road Gallery & Studios

August 2, 2023

Vasl Artists’ Association in collaboration with The Repair Atelier launched the third chapter of the Vasl’s museum series ‘Museum of Repair’ in March 2023. A year-long museum-based experiment for creative practitioners to investigate repair as a contemporary expression of empowerment, agency, and resistance to our unmaking of the world and the environment.

From 10 feet large acrylic and emulsion walls quietly screaming to the intimate size of 5 x 4 inches, my work explores personal and collective memory through an archaeological perspective. As a painter and printmaker, the visual vocabulary of the work varies from highly representationally drafted and etched visuals, to abstracted gestures of erasure. The medium gets dictated by the research which translates into a meticulously planned process that when near completion, allows a chance to take precedence in developing the end visual. Through my practice, I hope to respond to how artefacts are preserved, contextualised, exhibited, perceived, acquired, and interacted with. Exploration of these nuances will allow me to rebuild connections to the geographically scattered past and allow it to exist in the present for the future.

It is the house, the home of the dreams, of my dreams standing in the perfect sun of a cool summer breeze underneath the shade of the jamun and mango trees with bats circling its night skies, making me afraid to go the chatt to witness the ever-present stars.

These homes live detached from the world of the ever-existing mundane challenges of adulthood. Their memories are coloured with childhood idolisation and romanticism that makes them exist completely free from the tribulations which every such home has to face. In the case of 13-B, Lake Road, the tribulations are felt a bit too often as a barely audible, almost abstracted vague vibration in the earth caused by the Orange Line pierces through the nostalgia and wistfulness, letting foreboding silence take over. This anxiety stems from realising the impermanence of the house, of knowing how the environment in which the house is situated, will force it to not exist. It makes one restlessly search for the familiar which can be recreated and revisited often without physically inheriting the collection of the home. The familiar for me are the wrought iron patterns, which serve as totems and emblems, representing my grandmothers and with that the transcendental love, affection, patience, and acceptance they radiated. The intent was to archive and preserve these patterns by creating stencils of them, and also allow one to revisit these homes, outside the isolated memories of their existence, and answer honestly to the question, will I still want to live in this home?

As one ascends Lake Road from Jain Mandir, driving parallel to the Orange Line, right next to the Akbari store and car mechanic workshops, a metal gate takes us into a beautiful pre-partition house, Abbas Mansion. The house is sandwiched between a grey building on the left; a beautiful green lawn which is often flooded by the monsoon rain with mosquitos hovering over it, at the front, with Anjuman Madrasat-ul-Banat girls swimming pool on the right. At the back, its baramda and lawn are under heavy construction as a few months ago, they were forcefully taken by the government. Engulfed by gigantomania, infrastructural development, land encroachment and drainage/sewage problems, the home still stands beautifully in the middle.

About Hafsa:


Hafsa Nouman is a visual artist based in Lahore, Pakistan. She graduated with a Distinction in Fine Arts, painting from the National College of Arts in 2022 and is currently pursuing her MFA in Painting/Printmaking at Yale University on full scholarship.

Hafsa’s focus of interest is the exploration of memory through architectural spaces, mainly walls and wrought iron patterns. She is also one of the 6 co-founders of the Nana House Collective in Lahore and curated their first Open Studio.

She also has previously displayed her work at O Art Space, Dominion Gallery, Ejaz Gallery, Daastangoi and many others.