Laura Paddock




The workshop was invigorating and inspiring. It helped me focus more on my art and infused it with a new chorus of informants. I set out to use the time at Gadani to get back to painting after spending a year printing colour photographs. I left VASL with a suitcase full of small works on paper encrusted with the atmosphere; rugged, bleached, and windswept; and with mementos from the congested markets; fruit coloured plastic bicycles, small tinted mirrors and borrowed blue sequins.

A huge satisfaction was recognized via the landscape itself; familiar to me through traditional miniature painting yet clouded by the interpretations of armchair art historians.The two weeks engaged my natural predilections towards beauty, grace, mystery, symbolism, drawing and collage. A fiction materialized by presence alone, a validation of direct experience, an underscoring of artistic license, and a victory for visual language.

Our passion for our practice drove our interactions- Pushpa advising me without words how I should install my paintings, our collective engagement with Ruby over the placement of her gorgeous flock, Jerry catching me in cultural assumptions and amazing me with his talents of transformation, the infectious survivalism of Tang’s humour, Sumaira and Roohi’s inspirational collaboration, Lala and Niilofar’s dedication and vigilance like Lorelei in the rocks. Ellen’s 360-degree personal triumph in the ardor of art making, and the radiance I still feel of Amin’s sensibility in newfound sculptural elements in my own work.

I remain fed and saturated with beauty and generosity of my reception in Pakistan and its unique hybridizations and history.


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