International Artists’ Residency

with Afshar Malik, Gordon Cheung, Hema Upadhyay, Liew Kwai Fei, Roohi Ahmed

The first Vasl International Artists Residency program commenced on the August 9, 2003 with Pakistani artists, Afshar Malik, Roohi Ahmed and international artists, Gordon Cheung, (U.K.), Hema Upadhyay, (India), Liew Kwai Fei (Malaysia). Their arrival in Karachi coincided with the launch of a retrospective catalog of Pakistan’s iconic artist Sadequain, at the Mohatta Palace Museum. As a result, over the 5 week span of the residency, many artists visited the artists at their residence in the Rangoonwala Center and shared their work with the resident artists. The Vasl team encouraged the artists to explore the culture of Karachi by arranging guided tours of Khajoor Bazaar, Botal Gali, Eid Gah and Khori Garden Bazaar. As part of the residency program, an Open Forum was designed towards art students in particular where they could gain an insight into the ‘process’ of the resident artists’ works while visiting the studio spaces. As the first Vasl residency program in Karachi, this initiative encouraged the development of international links between artists, art students, curators and academics, promoting an inclusive approach to the diversity of international art. The residency concluded in an exhibition at the V.M. Art Gallery situated in the Rangoonwala Community Center where press from both Karachi and Mumbai aired on international television channels allowing Vasl to take a leap forward in helping bridge the gaps between our South Asian neighbors through art and cultural exchange.

Supported by the British Council, Gordon Cheung conducted a workshop for the educational outreach aspect of the residency with students from the University of Karachi, the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Central Institute of Arts and Crafts, and the Karachi School of Art. The idea behind Cheung’s workshop was to induct the students into critical thinking by encouraging them to develop a positive critique of their fellow classmates’ works. Cheung created exercises to help improve the student’s quality of work through articulate dialogue and developing a deeper insight into the thinking process. This workshop in Karachi took place at the Rangoonwala Centre and at the National College of Arts in Lahore.

A major partner for the residency was the Rangoonwala Foundation who had not only provided Vasl with living accommodation for the 5 artists, studio spaces within the Rangoonwala Foundation complex but space of the V.M. Art Gallery for the final exhibition.

Afshar Malik

The interactive residency with new learning’s & inspiration from each other filled with joy. I can admire the best weather (Aug. & Sept.), friends and smoked filled exciting markets. I have a strong nostalgia of Karachi through Waheed Murad’s black and white films and have painted my painting with vibrant colours to complement the city Karachi and Vasl team.

Gordon Cheung

The numbers of the Financial Times stock listings are used in the work as a direct metaphor for dense information with a global reach. In an information-saturated and technologised era our perceptions of time, space and position are reconfigured into a state of constant flux. In this contemporary landscape it is the new mythologies, world orders and collective entities that are key themes running through the work.

Hema Upadhyay

Is a Sculpture made out of Matchsticks.

(Matchsticks are chemically treated sticks that burst into flames when struck – if you rub Phosphorus and Sulphur together they instantly burst into flames)

Matchsticks can perform two functions with its flames one a Constructive one and the other a Destructive one ‘ Loco-Foco-Motto’ speaks of that ‘Moment’ when the Mind decides on the function of the matchstick The structure on its own is very Delicate / Fragile. The construction, which is inspired from the form of the Chandelier, speaks of ‘light of hope’ in this fragile environment.

Liew Kwai Fei

My art is about Something Simple n Something Childish.

Roohi Ahmed

Being a Muslim, living in a third world Asian country in the post “11 September” scenario the uneasiness of the situation has become majorly pronounced.

Living in a region, with war being imposed in the neighboring countries and thinking when will you be directly hit by it, one can’t remain unaffected.

The feeling of pain, fear, anger and of being violated is constantly there and has provoked this body of work.

Supported by

Robert Loder