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In Debut Exhibit NED Students Try To Raise Money

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Karachi:Students and faculty members of the NED University’s department of architecture and urban planning are exhibiting their artworks at the city campus this week. The exhibits feature 3-D installations, and paintings among others. The buildings of the campus (pictured), located in the heart of the old city area, date as far back as 1935.
KARACHI: It takes courage to put all your focus and effort into making one product. It takes even greater courage to put the finished product – the culmination of countless hours of hard work -for display to be critiqued and picked on by an uninitiated audience. What makes the effort worthwhile, though, is if the work goes on to contribute towards a worthy cause.
For students of the NED University’s Architecture and Planning Department, their campus, located in the heart of the old city area of Karachi, is almost like a second home. The campus houses some of the oldest buildings in the city, some dating back to 1935. When the department shifted to the campus back in 2004, much effort was put in to restore the dilapidating structures of the heritage building. The renovation has, however, not been able to completely turn the premises into a utilitarian one, leaving much to desire for want of funds and will.
When the visual communications instructor at the university, Madiha Arif, came up with the idea of hosting an art exhibition to display and promote the students’ works on a larger platform, she received quite a mixed response from the students. “Most were reluctant to put their works up. It is quite a daunting experience to display your work on such a platform,” she reasoned.
Arif, however, went ahead with the idea and encouraged the students to bring out works in whatever medium they were comfortable with. “My only advice to them was to stick to their strengths.”
The exhibition itself would provide a platform for the students to promote their talents as well as attract investment to model a state-of-the-art exhibition space at the university, they hoped.
The art works at display were a refreshing blast of creativity from students and members of the faculty. They included three 3-D installations, each with a different theme, as well as canvases that were made using a variety of media.
One of the most striking pieces on display was ‘Zeal’, an installation by final-year students, Muffadal Abbas and Zain Ali. The installation comprised a single hand rising out of the ground and holding onto strings that appeared to be originating from the sky. Speaking about the installation, Soha Macktoom, a final-year student, explained that the piece captured man’s struggle to break free from barriers and his undying ambitions to achieve success.
Another installation by the duo, titled Time Flies, showed features suspended in mid-air at equal distances from one another. On closer look, one could observe that the feathers also acted as hands of a clock, giving the over-all piece a very literal meaning.
The third installation, The Pierced Feather, was fashioned out of clay by two final-year students, Hira Sadiq and Amina Waqar. The piece included three identical forms of a woman, the first with needles around her, the second with a needle piercing through her while the third step showed a broken needle attached to her. Sadiq enthusiastically explained the meaning behind the piece: “The woman in society is merely perceived as a showpiece. Any steps she takes towards progress means another arrow stabbed through her by society.”
Her partner added, “As the woman reaches her threshold and tries to break free, she finds that her most imminent barrier, her family, stops her from doing so.”
Apart from the on-site installations, Arif told The Express Tribune that the photography pieces were the most appreciated by the audience. In fact, one of the first pieces to be sold was a photograph of a gypsy child by Hira Sadiq.
Having said that, the paintings, created using various media and techniques, were a pleasant revelation of the students’ dexterity. Amina Waqar’s ‘Saqafat kay Rang’ and Hassan Abbasi’s works definitely set a benchmark for other aspiring artists to follow.

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