“Incubator” is the outcome of the first Artist-in-Residence Programme by Sanat Initiative, curated by critically acclaimed visual artist Muhammad Zeeshan. Currently an Adjunct Faculty of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi, Zeeshan has several gallery and museum exhibitions to his credit including; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, Abbot Hall Art Gallery at Kendal, Pacific Asia Art Museum at Pasadena, Art Gallery of Mississauga, British Museum, Gemak/Gemeente Museum, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and Metropolitan Museum at Tokyo. Muhammad Zeeshan’s works are also a part of the permanent collection of British Museum, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
After Sanat Initiative announced its ‘open call for applications’, and receiving an overwhelming number of responses, seven artists coming from a diversity of backgrounds and artistic practices were selected from all over Pakistan; Abid Aslam from Lahore, Arsalan Nasir from Karachi, Ghulam Mohammad from Kachi, Kiran Saleem from Faisalabad, Rohail Ghouri from Tando Jam, Sajid Khan from Malakand, and Zahra Asim from Lahore.
The Artist-in-Residence Programme aimed to bring together talent that exhibited immense potential, innovation, and demonstrated eagerness for a challenge, and created an environment at the Residency that was conducive to creative experimentation, learning, research, and artistic exploration. Sanat Initiative’s collaboration with curators, galleries, art fairs and museums worldwide, coupled with curated exhibitions, screenings, workshops and seminars at Sanat Gallery, the Artist-in-Residence Programme worked much like an incubator, fostering the growth and continued development of these artists, by connecting them with not just the larger art-world, but with other artists.
Rohail Ghauri, from Tando Jam is a recent graduate from the Center of Excellence in Art and Design (CEAD), Jamshoro. He explores the transition from his village to city life, which has created a personal rift within, which he has dealt with by creating two different personalities. Also exploring dichotomies, Sajid Khan, a 2012 graduate in Miniature painting from National College of Arts Lahore, shares his observations and experiences of life in Palai, outside Swat, where the stark differences between the past and the present, and peace and war are most apparent.
Examining their environments, Zahra Asim, a fresh graduate in Painting from National College of Arts Lahore, presents snapshots of the ordinary yet crowded interiors of personal spaces. Creating with illusionary sculptures, delusions and altered perceptions of reality, MA Honour graduate from National College of Arts Lahore, Kiran Saleem examines what are perhaps the mundane, profane, and easily overlooked aspects of our everyday existence. Also reflecting on his surroundings and realities, Abid Aslam is also from Lahore, Hunerkada and a practicing visual artist for four years derives inspiration from the city of Karachi.
Confronting if not attempting to process the pains of identity, artists Arsalan Nasir from Karachi University and Ghulam Mohammad, a graduate from Beaconhouse National University and a native of Kachi present existentialist works. Arsalan focuses on the tumults of time as it progresses, and of the past, which seem to converge within his being, in his identity. Ghulam Mohammad investigates the relationship between language and identity, commenting on his own sense of fracturing and unravelling.
Incubator is more than just a culmination of the hard work of the organisers, curator, and resident artists. Incubator is the energy, the buzz, the enthusiasm and the incredible power of a collective of artists who did not just live together and work next to one another, but had become a part of one another’s artistic process. More than just cultivating creativity, Incubator is the result of cooperation, collaboration, and community – values that have long been absent from our art world.
Sanat’s PR and media was handled by Rana Asif and team.
All Photo Credits: Salman Fotography