Vasl Art Study is a small group of artists, writers and lawyers who meet to discuss a chosen text by an art critic or writer a current art show or a social issue


Residue Art Study

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Full Circle Gallery

With Ali Sultan & Wei Leng Tay


Deconstruct Art Study

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Full Circle Gallery

Fazal Rizvi & Yaminay Chaudhri in conversation with Shehrezade Junejo, Mahmil Masood, Marium J. Kamal, Quratulain Qamar Choudhry, Rameez Rehman, Sikander Athar Butt, Sundus Talpur & Syed Mohsin

Fazal Rizvi and Yaminay Chaudhri were in conversation with the participating artists of the show ‘Deconstruct’ and its curator Sheherzade Junejo at the Full Circle Gallery. This discussion was part of the Vasl art study. The group made the participating artists critically analyze their work – development of the concept since graduation in December 2013 and the making and esthetics of the whole process. its relation to the gallery space and the artists themselves. The participating artist of the show were Mahmil Masood, Marium J. Kamal, Quratulain Qamar Choudhry, Rameez Rehman, Sikander Athar Butt, Sundus Talpur and Syed Mohsin.


Veena Malik’s Pakistan a text by Faisal Siddiqi

Thursday, February 24, 2011
IVS Gallery, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture

with Faisal Siddiqi

Thursday, 24th February 2011 was very exciting for artists, writers and students as Vasl carried out a study group on an editorial article that appeared in DAWN newspaper last month about the controversial activities of actress Veena Malik. The writer of the text is a Karachi-based lawyer, Faisal Siddiqi who, in his article, was investigating the confused, paradoxical and contradictory nature of the ‘masses’ in Pakistan. Icons such as Veena Malik, who are watched by millions of Pakistanis, have been creating ripples on Pakistani national television, though in the case of Veena Malik’s recent appearances, the actress has demonstrated great courage in facing the fundamentalist right and defending her personal and private life. The ARTstudy discussion sparked a number of other debates, including emerging feminist identities, and the simultaneous imposition of the ideals of the extreme right and secular forces upon the people of Pakistan – particularly upon those who can neither be classed as fundamentalist nor liberal.

Link to Veena Malik’s TV interview.

Link to Faisal Siddiqi’s article.

Two is a Company Art Study

Thursday, February 10th, 2011
Canvas Gallery

with Ahsan Jamal & Madhia Sikander

With lots of exhibition openings all over Karachi it is always interesting to see artists who strike one as different and leave an impression. One always looks forward to seeing their work and the world through their eyes. However, engagement in an open discussion is crucial in order to understand the work better. ARTstudy was held at the CANVAS Gallery where the artist couple had been showing their work over the last two weeks. Visitors were curious and questions were asked about Ahsan Jamal’s large and serene landscapes in charcoal, which seemingly spoke about the lack of color in life. Jamal’s response to one of the questions asked in this context was the fact that nothing pleasing has remained around him. The views from his balcony are both mundane and upsetting. There is a general sense of depravity and gloom in his work, perhaps also reflected in his manner, though he talks candidly as if trying to rebel against his own circumstances. Sikander took on the debate articulately and carefully. She briefly spoke about her own work which stemmed from her fixation with and eventual breaking away from the vasli material (the standard surface for miniature paintings). While studying she decided to use old books as her surface and she paints different symbols and images on the covers or inside her collected books. One book had a rhinoceros rampaging out of the page towards the viewer. Others had paper planes covered with headlines, like folded pieces of newspaper. The work at times became explicitly political and when interrogated, Sikander responded by saying that she is simply not happy with the way things are in her country, and she cannot fix everything. Her work, in her opinion, is a way to vent a frustration she feels and it is the only way for her to deal with her frustration – through a kind of “documentation” of the situation. Some people disagreed with her and thought that rather than a documentation, the work is more of an intervention upon specific books, opened at specific chapters and painted over with specific things, thus a more pointed critique that demands a certain responsibility from the artist. On the whole the discussion was eventful as many questions were asked although some, in the end, still remain unanswered. (Ammad Tahir)


Fine Art Thesis Art Study

IVS Gallery
December 2010

19 students who had been struggling towards their thesis since the beginning of this year finally displayed their works and concerns that baffled most of the visitors and awed several others. A number of concerns came forth in the work including sexuality, repression, mythology, distortion, secrecy, opulence and desire. Vasl ART Study gathered around most of the artists and cross questioned them individually to gain more insight into their works. This was perhaps one of the longest Study Groups because everyone wanted to add an opinion or two however we all settled down upon the conclusion that even though many graduates were hard working, not everyone will continue their artistic practice for too long except for a few passionate ones.


November 2010
Canvas Gallery

with Quddus Mirza & Mohammad Ali Talpur

As the students, mentors, critics, writers and collectors entered the gallery space beginning to absorb the works; Quddus Mirza was already sitting and waiting for his audience. The talk began with several questions posed at Mirza about the formal qualities of his work which he candidly dismissed by saying that he’s not a student of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. The point of contention which developed later on was Mirza’s argument that he paints purely for the physical pleasure of the act and has no thought or intellectual musings to offer. Despite several attempts made by students to instigate the conceptual elements in the work Mirza refused to engage in any conversation. But his work coupled with Talpur’s spoke volumes.

Sub Kuch Chalta hai

October 2010
Art Chowk Gallery

with Aamir Habib

Aamir Habib’s work revolves around different political scenarios in the country and mostly makes fun of the political leadership, democratic processes and the government. Vasl ART Study met at the premises of the show where several art students, critics, senior artists and media persons had gathered to hold dialogues with the artist in question. The debate on whether the work was a façade or had some deeper meaning remained the focal issues throughout the duration of the study group; however, one could pin down a conclusion that despite using these explosive metaphors in his work Aamir Habib casually and satirically addresses them.

Out of Balance Art Study

April 2010
KSA Gallery, Karachi School of Art

A show of 10 talented visual artists, all fresh graduates, with the first batch of new works after their thesis. The work revolved around the theme out of balance. Vasl Art Study was held at the KSA Gallery (Karachi School of Art ) where the show is being exhibited. Along with the ARTstudy group and the participating artists, a few senior practicing artists, art critics, art writers, curators, teachers and students took part in the discussion. A healthy debate ensued, in which the artists relayed their first experience of working on their own completely.

8th Emerging Talent Art Study

April 2010
VM Art Gallery

8th Emerging Talent, which showcased the selected works of fresh art graduates of 2009, from art institutes all over Pakistan. An active discussion ensued about conceptual backgrounds and perceptions, as well as the different schools of thought followed by institutions, between some of the participating artists and the audience which consisted of the Vasl Art study group, a few practicing senior artists, art critics and lawyers, among others. The discussion seemed to have provided the artists with some more insight into their work which will help them in their work in the future.

Dear Diary

January 2010
Poppy Seed Gallery

Dear Diary was a group show of 10 young and promising visual artists who either work with themselves as a subject or transformed their work into an autobiographical for this particular show. VASL Art Study got together at Poppy Seed along with a few artists showing work at the gallery to discuss the origins, concepts and future possibilities of the work. The conversation was geared towards critical appreciation and after much analysis and debate all of the artists seemed to have gained an insight into their work which will hopefully them in their future endeavors.


Emerging Talent

June 2009
VM Art Gallery

The latest ArtStudy, hosted by the VM Art Gallery in the wake of the Emerging Talent ’09 exhibition, centered around the quality and nature of the work being exhibited, and how it reflected the changes in art education. Different approaches to art education were discussed, as well as flaws within the current system and possible solutions. The exhibiting students from the Karachi School of Art, Karachi University, and the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture attended, as well as the host Riffat Alvi, the Vasl working group and several artists attended.


Diasporic Artists Art Study

November 2008
Indus Valley school of Art and Architecture

Ideas surrounding the diasporic experience in relation to the perception and attitudes towards art produced from the diaspora were discussed. Moreover other aspects the discussion touched upon were stereotyping of the other and the value in being diasporic and the definition of diaspora itself in question were debated.

It was attended by the residency artists, Vasl working group, art critic Nafisa Rizvi, Adnan Madani and the renowned writer Mohammed Hanif participated in this investigation.

Sophie Ernst Art Study

Monday, September 1st, 2008
Canvas Gallery

Ernst lives between Netherlands, India and Pakistan and has been teaching new media at BNU past 4 years. She exhibited in the National Art Gallery inaugural and Pakistan pavilion at Art Dubai and her recent work also shown at the RGS London, investigates the socio-historical space of Pakistan and partition.

Emerging Talent Art Study

Monday, June 30, 2008
VM Art Gallery
Started in 2002 by Riffat Alvi completes its 6th round this year.

ARTstudy meets this time to investigate main aspects of the work showcased and discuss factors aligned with its production.This is a good opportunity to look at the institutional differences across Pakistan and their academic temperaments that aim to forge the emerging and the new in our context.

Clay Clan II, Ceramic Art and Artists Today Art Study

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
VM Art Gallery

with Kaif Ghaznavi, Aasim Akhtar, Niilofar Farrukh & Riffat Alvi

Quddus Mirza Art Study

May 2008
Canvas Gallery

This was an occasion where artists and attendees heard writer/artist/curator Quddus Mirza’s talk candidly about his work and life. This took place during Quddus Mirza’s work on exhibit at the Canvas Gallery in which he spoke about his hiatus from painting, the act of painting itself, his views on writing versus the visual and aspects that were directly related to art in Pakistan today.


‘Art, Artists and Politics’

Friday, February 29, 2008
Fomma Gallery

with A.R. Nagori

In relation to the current movement against Musharaf’’s regime, in which questions have been raised about the relationship of art and artists to politics – A R Nagori was invited to present his paper at the VASL Study which he had read at the Goethe Institute in the past. The text raised similar questions in the context of Zia Ul Haqs martial law.


National Gallery: a beginning by Nillofur Farrukh Art Study

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Body without Body: The Creative Imagination of the Absence by Faisal Siddiqi

Friday, August 31, 2007
VM Art Gallery

The text reviewed Seema Nusrat’s Solo show of her tie sculptures.

The group met at the V.M ART gallery while the work was on display.

“Sohni Dharti” initiated by Adeela Suleman

Monday, August 13, 2007
Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi

Born to be…. by Simone Wille

Thursday, June 21, 2007
VM Art Gallery

The text was taken from Abdullah Syed’s Solo Show Catalouge-Born To Be…..

Heavenly Ornaments  by Iftikhar Dadi

April 27, 2007
Canvas Gallery

The text was taken from Naiza Khans Solo Show Catalogue-Heavenly Ornaments.

Islamic Art at a Crossroads by CoCo Ferguson

Friday, March 30, 2007
Fomma Gallery

the text was selected from the Middle Eastern Art  Magazine Bidoun.


Monday, February 19, 2007
Commune Artists Colony

The text was taken from the Adeela Suleman solo shows catalouge “Confinement”.

Evaluating Identity in Pakistani Art Today by Simone Wille

Pakistani Art & its South Asian Identity by Quddus Mirza

January 12, 2007
Vasl Residency


Now you see it, now you don’t  by Quddus Mirza

December 2006

The text was taken from the catalouge for the BODY show curated by Amin Gulgee.