ZAINAB ABDUL HUSSAIN
Born 1995, Karachi, Pakistan
Hussain completed her BFA degree from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 2017 where she specialized in sculpture and printmaking, while giving her thesis in drawing. Hussain captures visuals of various covered objects in her surroundings, among public and private spaces such as streets, markets and houses in Karachi. Her research into different Muslim clothing elements such as the hijab, veil and Rida (Dawoodi Bohra communal attire), leads her to identify these coverings as a form of protection. The visuals that she has chosen are meant to connect and relate to the viewer, because clothing and covering is one of the basic human necessities. It is through the cloth or ‘chaadar’ that one often seeks protection. This notion is reflected in her study of objects like vehicles and other valued material that have been covered by their owners, to shield them from any kind of external harm or damage.
Born 1992, Karachi, Pakistan
Maryam Arslan, known for her whimsical art and oil paintings, is a BFA graduate from the Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture. After her MA in Art and Design Studies from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, she quickly became one of Vasl’s more well-known artists in residence. Arslan creates delectable self-portraits with thick, creamy oil strokes. Her narratives encompass blithe, whimsical fantasies where luscious food items flutter like birds and play secret games. Her wishful daydreams explore a kingdom where gluttony is a cheerful friend and where food possesses its own destiny and may perhaps last forever. This world is made intimate and personal through the artist’s distinctive strokes and gleaming colors. Arslan’s narrative is experienced in short, sweet gushes as daydreams offer a brief, pleasant interval before collapsing back into reality. Despite that, the essence of her work possesses an element of timelessness as she offers a glimpse into an idyllic realm, unmarred by any temporal occurrences.
Born 1989, Karachi, Pakistan
Mujtaba Asif, one of the most conceptually complex artists to emerge in Pakistan in recent years, works across a broad swath of media, ranging from delicate paper and terracotta constructions to meticulously reworked found objects, and city-wide installations using graffiti, signage, and collaborative workshops to cause interventions in both physical and conceptual space. His projects, often left visible on the streets to the public at large, confront notions of indoctrinated discrimination based on religion, ethnicity and gender in an attempt to lay bare and ultimately alter the deeply ingrained social and cultural prejudices he sees as widespread in Pakistani society.
Born 1991, Karachi, Pakistan
Baghpati’s studio practice revolves around archiving old, and fabricating new objects. He collects discarded domestic objects and re-contextualizes them for aesthetic reconsideration and functionality by drawing connections among them, altering them, and at times making a new object. These discarded objects, once functional in regional Pakistani households, are either losing or have already lost their value, presence, and function, which represents their old regional design and material culture. These rare finds are intriguing to him, as most of them are no longer in production or domestic use.
Baghpati is interested in locating the purpose and notional function of these objects through reinterpretations of their design, aesthetics and form. Using the intellectual worth of the collected objects, the new objects and the altered objects manifest and create newfangled properties. Through the rationality of these objects, he aims to bring viewers closer to the intimacy of these entities. While conducting this research, he searched for unique novelties in the junkyards and antique stores of Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and other cities of Pakistan. Each new object adds tremendous value to his research.
Born 1985, Karachi, Pakistan
Emaan Mahmud trained as a printmaker at Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, Karachi, graduating with a BFA in 2008. Having observed and interacted with the art world, as an art student, a fresh graduate and then as an artist, Emaan Mahmud has developed satire as a way to document her sociological observations about the art “industry” in Pakistan. However, she started taking the power of satire seriously after Fox news mistook her anonymously written piece on padded bras getting banned in Pakistan as serious news. Her ongoing body of work, one could say is an amalgamation of the mental notes she has made while practicing as a painter, making ‘concept less’ paintings in a time where concept trumps technique.
Born 1993, Karachi, Pakistan
Hira Khan graduated from the Fine Art Department at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 2015. Having an avid inclination towards material explorations and forms, she practices mainly in sculpture. Much of her work is derived from a cross conversation between the various materials she uses, herself, and the piece itself. Her work and visuals are often influenced by her kickboxing practice that she maintains as a hobby. Her subjects and concerns vary around the concepts of self-empowerment. Her work is frequently directed towards the idea of closure. The process of her ideas undergoes a range of letters and poetry which are engaged with issues or people; with a presence of feminism and confessional art. Her material choices fluctuate from resin, epoxy, synthetic leather, cloth, latex, and polythene bags. She has also worked with ephemeral substances.
Currently, Hira works as a research manager at the Vasl Artists' Collective under Adeela Suleman and has an individual studio practice as well.
MUHAMMAD MUZAMMIL KHAN
Born 1987, Karachi, Pakistan
Muzammil Khan’s work speaks about the loss he had to face when his house in Karachi was demolished by the authorities due to the Lyari Expressway project in 2016. The loss, nonetheless, left room for a new beginning for him as he captured those moments in his paintings. His visuals consist of bricks, stones, and buildings, and incorporate personal spaces from photographs he took as well as from his memory. Khan has stated, “once what was a whole structure, has now come down to bricks and stones. This explains the essence of my body of work in this exhibition.” For Khan, making bricks one by one, allows his paintings to become acts of reconstruction. His paintings are done on multiple layers of wasli, which not only adds beauty to his compositions, but lends a totally new dimension to his creations. He talks about the distance, spaces, and levels of memories through these layers. The open doors and windows invite the audience inside to imagine and explore.
SULEMAN AQUEEL KHILJI
Born 1985, Quetta, Pakistan
Khilji has been displaying his work across Pakistan, and has had group shows in France and the UK. Khilji takes a research/process based approach to art-making. He works with various mediums and techniques, combining drawing, painting, printmaking, and digital techniques. His interest in drawing and photography leads him to use film stills, images from Art History, and news images as the basis for his paintings, and to locate the boundary of abstraction and figuration in enlarged images. Khilji’s recent work consider images from Art History in his own context, not appropriating their exact mode of composition or execution, but re-situating and revisiting their contents in the light of his own contemporary visions.
Born 1984, Quetta, Pakistan
Naveed was awarded a BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in 2007 and an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London in 2009. Through her work, she has shown an interest in urban geographies, as her curiosity lies in temporary barricades and obstructions that are a constant feature of the urban growth of the city Karachi in Pakistan. She views these barriers as additions, subtractions, and alterations to our everyday movement, and as superimposed architectural spaces that vacillate in appearance. Naveed has exhibited her work internationally and is currently an assistant professor at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.
Born 1980, Karachi, Pakistan
Having obtained a BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 2002, Seema went on to pursue a Masters in Fine and Media Arts from Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, Canada. Seema’s work emerges from the energy found in the urban metropolis, and her sculptures, drawings and collages indicate her capacity to understand the most unusual materials, which are incorporated in her oeuvre. Seema has exhibited her work within Pakistan and internationally, establishing herself as a young contemporary artist with the added experience of teaching since 2010 at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. Her current research is a response to the security situation in Karachi; the existence of these barricades has become an accepted type of intervention into the cityscape. One can imagine and map these barricades transforming from mere blocks into facades, columns, gardens and eventually translating into the innermost features of architecture.
Born 1994, Sukkur, Pakistan
Razin was born and brought up in Sukkur, situated on the west bank of the River Indus. She came to Karachi in 2013 to study art at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS). During the time she was studying at IVS, she lost her parents and house in Sukkur. She brought all the furniture and the rest of her parents’ belongings to her new house in Karachi. Razin’s work portrays her past, and the adjustments she made to her lifestyle after the demise of her parents. Her studio practice focuses on miniature painting, drawing and photography. Her work interacts with the viewer and creates a dialogue around the things she witnesses in her daily routine.
Born 1992, Karachi, Pakistan
Through the usage of film, found materials and manually altering archival documents, Rustomji tries to stir the viewer’s curiosity by questioning our notions of history and culture. His interests have grown from utilizing family archives, to photographing neighborhoods and looking at their cultural history in tandem with urban planning and design in Karachi. Rustomji’s paintings lend a perspective into the possibilities of re-imagining alternate realities. For him, creating art as an extension of his own concerns and curiosities means that he has the opportunity to reinvent a static photograph, a narrated story or a chronology of accounts. His paintings tend to morph into various forms, inspecting the modernization of cities and societies, and blurring the lines between facts, myths and fantasy. He is currently interested in the dilapidated conditions of his neighborhood in Karachi, called Bath Island. As its architectural landscape is rapidly changing, benefiting solely the developers invested in building towering apartments which do not fall within the by-laws of this residential area, Rustomji finds it important to document whatever remains and whatever there is to come in the future of Bath Island.
OMER WASIM & SAIRA SHEIKH
Born 1988 and 1975 (Respectively), Karachi, Pakistan
Omer Wasim has a BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture and an MA in Critical Studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Baltimore, Maryland. He has been teaching and practicing in Pakistan, since 2014, and is currently a faculty in the Liberal Arts Programme at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.
Saira Sheikh had a BFA from the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, Punjab, and an EdM from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York. She had been teaching and practicing in Karachi, Pakistan, since 2013, and was Associate Professor and Head of the Liberal Arts Programme at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi.
Omer Wasim & Saira Sheikh are visual artists who practice together, and cast a retrospective glance at the present to radically examine and mine contemporary art practices, and the recent, albeit superficial, interest of the global west in their region; and also to reconfigure, re-articulate, and disrupt existing and complacent modes of artistic engagement and production. Wasim continues to execute projects that were jointly conceived.
Wasim works and lives in Karachi. Sheikh passed away in 2017.
Born 1982, Lahore, Pakistan
Mohsin Shafi’s collages are often intensely personal portraits of his life and his family made by using impersonal recycled images. In his own words he uses these images to investigate deeper realities such as the effect these images have on how we live today. Is too much information a good or a bad thing? And are we now losing contact what is real and the distinction between what is real and what is not? Through a play with image, text, material and space/environment, Shafi attempts to communicate multiple layers of meaning, that intentionally pose more questions than they provide answers, and, hopefully, in turn create a deeper dialogue.