Now extended until Thursday, 28 May
Monday – Friday 10.00 – 18.00
Drawing with language and visual metaphors, Farina Alam explores the notion of place and how it bears upon Pakistan as a post-colonial nation state. Asia House hosts the completed series of ‘My Kolachi’ in a solo show of drawings by the artist. The singular works on paper underline a link between text and image to expose recurring themes of religion, politics and conceptions of identity in her recent work.
Mai Kolachi was a fishing woman, upon whom modern day Karachi is named after. ‘My Kolachi’ is the title of Alam’s recent drawings for her solo show at Asia House.
Drawing with language and visual metaphors, Farina Alam critiques complex cultures of a post-colonial nation state/home. Alams’ process of detailed mark making is a deliberate effort to disseminate a response to a political and religious identity. Engaged in this way, the artist places words and symbols within a laboriously conceived graphic framework. A “naqsha” or map is dotted out in diminutive quill points, which she refers to as a “made-up” language of text and image as a homage to the lexicon approach of craftsmen and artists under censorship imposed by Pakistani military and clerical leaders.
In recent projects such as ‘My Kolachi’ Alam is interested in how language used in media highlights an immediate relationship to an image. The feeding ground for her research is rooted in Pakistan and its chequered existence as a nation strained by a power battle between the army, the feudals, and the Islamic fundamentalists. Google images, the printed word and of course visits to her home town of Karachi fuel the works on paper.
The project is host to a series of influences picked from Arab literary symbolism, local Pakistani craftsmanship and a play of words in Arabic, English and Urdu. As a Pakistani, she feels the undercurrent of national political anxiety remains central to her drawings.
Farina Alam has exhibited with John Martin of London UK, Koel Gallery Karachi Pakistan and London Print Studio London UK. She has also participated in Master Drawings London 2008, Arte Fiera Bologna 2009, and a Multiplied Contemporary Editions Fair at Christies 2014.
Born 1971 in Karachi, Pakistan, Alam attained a BFA at the Indus School of Art and Architecture in Karachi Pakistan in 1996. She immigrated to England in 1998 where she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art UCL and completed her Masters of Media in Fine Art in 2000. Alam currently lives and works in London.