Students in the Department of Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts and Design work closely with faculty and visiting artists through electives, workshops, residencies
and the Fine Art Major Studio; a largely independent, practice-driven, idea-led studio, where they explore individual concerns.
The students work through an exciting pool of diverse studio and theory electives, which also includes areas outside of art and design disciplines, as they progress into advanced years taking their experience to the Major Studio. This helps them develop a panoramic vision. The resulting works produced
have a solid, conceptual, and formal foundations. Relative to other Fine Arts programmes in Pakistan, the programme at SVAD is more idea-led and encourages students to work fluidly, without forcing them to select one stream in the initial years of their study. Emphasis is given to helping students discover their specific concerns through observation and research while simultaneously exposing them to a variety of media before they choose the medium/s best suited for their practice.
Specialization/Areas: Drawing | Painting | Sculpture | Photography | Video Art/Animation | Interactive Arts | Performance Art
Duration: 4 Years | 8 Semesters
Concerned Department: Department of Fine Arts
Career Paths: Visual Artist, Painter, Performance Artist, Photographer, Printmaker, Sculptor, Public Arts, Theatre Set Designer, Video Artist, Art Administrator, Art Educationist, Ceramicist, Curator, Multimedia Artist, Entertainment Industry, Exhibition and Event Designer, Fashion Industry, Film and TV, Furniture Designer, Illustrator, Installation Artist, Interior Designer, Landscaping artist, Lighting Designer, Model Maker, Advertising, Computer Graphics-related professions.
Admission Requirement & Eligibility Criteria
You are eligible to apply for admission if you have successfully completed your FA/FSc with 45% marks or have an A level pass in three subjects (IBCC equivalence certificate is required), or an equivalent national or international qualification. All applicants can find guidelines for admission process, online application form and dates for Entrance Test and interviews on the BNU's web page: www.bnu.edu.pk
Choose a degree programme
After confirming your eligibility, you must choose a department from within MDSVAD. Regardless of your choice of department, all successful applicants are admitted to the Foundation Studies programme. The Foundation Studies programme provides each student the opportunity to investigate the possibilities offered by all degree programmes at SVAD. You must indicate the programme of your preference on the application form, which will be your major for the duration of your degree. In special cases, you may be able to apply for another programme at the end of the Foundation Year. The faculty, who are not obligated to entertain a change of department application, on rare occasions may approve requests at their discretion.
You can find the online application form at BNU's online portal:
You must complete the application form online, following all the instructions. Once you submit it, you will receive a confirmation. You must then submit all required documents (mentioned in the application form) to the Admissions Office on campus. When the Office
receives your documents, they will hand over instructions for the Entrance Test to you.
The admission test for the School of Visual Arts and Design is an online, open-book test
that can be completed from home. Students will be given 24 hours to complete all the
tasks. Candidates will be tested for reading comprehension, visual comprehension,
general knowledge, research etc. Further details about the test will be provided to you
upon application submission.
After the Test, you will be interviewed by a panel of SVAD faculty members. The
interviews will be conducted online on Zoom, for which candidates are encouraged to be
At SVAD, we look for motivated, observant, curious individuals, with visual intelligence
and an interest in reading. The Entrance Test and interview act as a catalyst for us to
assess your strengths and aptitude. We will evaluate your potential for development in the
programmes that SVAD offers, as well as your research into your desired area of study.
The interview is also your chance to ask us questions about SVAD. A portfolio is
encouraged, and will help us recognize your passion and commitment.
Semester I - Year 1 (Foundation Year)
Semester II - Year 1 (Foundation Year)
Semester III - Year 2
Semester IV - Year 2
Semester V - Year 3
Semester VI - Year 3
Semester VII - Year 4
Semester VIII - Year 4
Fine Art Mandatory Courses
History of Ideas | Semester 3
Course Code: IDE-201 | Contact Time: 3 Hours Per Week | Credits: 3 | Theory
This course is an introduction to progression of change in human thought and modes of being. It focuses on developments beginning in the late 1700s till present, although the content often cuts across linearity. The course foregrounds intellectual development mentioned above but in conversation with social, political, economic and technological shifts which influence the creation of new world orders. It is proposed that such intellectual threads may be grasped from the territories of many disciplines thus providing a deep but flexible grounding of theory to practice.
Integrated Studio | Semester 3
Course Code: IDE-202 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
From the shifting coordinates of art, design and other creative fields, what does it mean to be “practicing” today? What are some actions and indications of it? This course tackles these questions from an interdisciplinary context, borrowing from poetics, functionality, and research. Students begin to define the idea of practice for themselves through rigorous coursework in which they are asked to consider this question from varying lenses. As a result, they are expected to understand production as having relevance in more than one arena including aesthetic, cultural, social, utilitarian and political.
Integrated Visual Arts & Visual Communication Design Studio | Semester 4
Course Code: VFD-221 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
In this course, students are encouraged to explore basic themes, ideas and practices that are common to Visual Art and Design. The formal and conceptual parameters provided to students are a springboard for the formulation of their own ideas and interests, expressed through mediums of their own choice. Through short, experimental assignments emphasis is laid on strengthening execution skills as well as perceptual and conceptual abilities. The main objective of this course is to familiarize students with current/re-current themes, critical ideas and lenses such as semiotics phenomenology. Thus, they are expected to become informed readers and makers of images in a variety of visual art and design formats.
Current Discourse in Visual Art | Semester 7
Course Code: BVA-402 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
This course examines the idea of art as handed to us through a history of interpretations, leading to a reassessment of the critical assumptions implicit in the creation of the discipline. Through a series of discursive activity, accompanying texts and writing students trace and negate chronologies, and subsequently examine the ‘conditions’ underpinning the art imaginary at present time, leading to a reassessment of its physical and conceptual boundaries. The students examine contemporaneity from a panoramic point of view not just as a participation in chronological time but also as a (dis)continuation of it: the present lies evasive, unfixed and un-bracketed.
Professional Practices in Visual Art | Semester 8
Course Code: BVA-452 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
How do artists make a living? It takes time for emerging artists to become established and to find an appropriate niche in the market. This course in the final semester prepares graduating students for the realities of art as a profession. The seminar is designed to meet the needs of graduating students with different career objectives. In addition, students acquire essential skills in the following: finding and running a studio, publicity, bringing work to the attention of the buying public, funding work, handling commission bodies and curators, organising exhibitions, producing exhibition catalogues, entering artist-inresidence schemes, competition and copyright issues.
Fine Art Major Studios
Fine Art Major Studio I | Semester 5
Course Code: BVA-300 | Contact Time: 12 Hours per week | Credits: 6 | Studio
This course is a transitory level between the more structured Major I, and the independent Major III and hence involves a combination of two pedagogical approaches. Students have the opportunity to explore their understanding of formal issues through various themes and ideas. The primary objective of this course is to enable students in bridging their formal skills and theoretical understanding. Students are encouraged to experiment extensively with mediums of their choice while responding with critical thoughts and ideas within a broader context of the arts.
Fine Art Major Studio II | Semester 6
Course Code: BVA-301 | Contact Time: 12 Hours per week | Credits: 6 | Studio
At this advanced level, students are expected to independently identify and explore personal interests. Their work is self-motivated and interaction with the tutor is limited to individual and group critique sessions. The primary objective of this course is to enable the students in identifying their concerns, developing their independent practice and narrowing down their choice of mediums. At this level, students are also being exposed to ideas outside of art & design disciplines through simultaneous theory courses and they are expected to bring this understanding to Major Studio.
Fine Art Major Studio III | Semester 7
Course Code: BVA-400 | Contact Time:18 Hours per week | Credits: 9 | Studio
In this Major Studio, students are encouraged to produce a cohesive body of work by narrowing down and focusing on specific choices of medium and format that they have already explored extensively in the past. Students work on self-directed projects supplemented by one-on-one tutorials and group critiques of advanced level. Each student is expected to follow their specific path of exploration with consistency. The course aims to facilitate students in learning to work with rigour, while having a self-critical view towards their own development.
Fine Art Major Studio IV | Semester 8
Course Code: BVA-401 | Contact Time: 24 Hours per week | Credits: 12 | Studio
Students continue with projects already initiated in the major studio in the previous semester with the awareness that the final works produced during the course of the 8th semester will be a part of the degree show. Students are facilitated in development of their work through independent discussions with the thesis supervisor/s and as well as through group reviews with guest critics. Curatorial and display design concerns around their individual practices are also discussed.
Fine Art Studio Electives
The following applies to all advanced level courses: These advanced courses are independently constructed according to the individual need of students specializing in one of these chosen areas. Third level courses are designed in consultation with teaching faculty. Evaluation is through regular tutorials, critiques and presentations.
Singular and Multiple: Sculpture Today
Course Code: BVA-204 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course is a step towards understanding of three dimensionality through complex object making. It deals with materials and processes, critically questioning and re-evaluating how sculpture can be relevant in creating meaningful form and conceptual solutions. Through this course diverse methods of developing and fabricating objects for ‘sculpture-making’ are explored. At the end of the course students are equipped with tools for discovering formal and conceptual solutions of three-dimensionality. The projects are developed to give students substantial experience with a broad range of conventional and unconventional materials and methods, to develop a position for their work in contemporary art practice.
Surface and Materials | Semester 3
Course Code: D-TX 237 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
The aim of this course is to build upon knowledge of two-dimensional surfaces by focusing on various aspects of design through incorporating elements and principles of design. This approach is expected to push boundaries and is primarily concerned with the application of two-dimensional elements for gaining creative and visual starting points. The course builds the students’ foundation of developing textures, using a variety of materials through an amalgamation of textile, fibre and jewellery to create two-dimensional surfaces.
The New Darkroom
Course Code: BVA-205 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
An icon of a folder, a trash bin, and an email on the screen emulate the physical world. The smartphone photo filter mimics what was once a laborious chemical process; Valencia, 117 Lo-Fi, Inkwell, and Nashville echo the old in the new. This course introduces students to chemical processes of dark-room photography while expanding the idea of photography today. Opening the 19th century photo cookbook on the digital photography scene, students move through printing digital-based negatives to mixing photo-sensitive chemicals to scanning chemically processed prints and negatives.
Painting in the Age of Camera
Course Code: BVA-206 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
The invention of photography in 19th century freed the artist from the pressure of creating strictly representational works and as a result many new styles and movements in art, particularly painting emerged. It became self-reflective and developed a distinct discourse based on autonomy, subjective expression and the act of painting. This is seemingly dialectal to photography. However, in this course students are expected to question the conventional dichotomy between photography and painting, explore how the two mediums have influenced each other and unearth the possibilities in their convergence.
Course Code: BVA-207 | Contact Time: 6 hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course gives a new life and meaning to video by extending the boundaries of production to the digital space. It provides students with an opportunity to use moving image as an archival resource as well as a tool of investigation to understand the politics of social media and new expression. Students will explore the ways in which the web space can give new meaning to video production and circulation. Moreover, they are motivated to challenge themselves in experimenting with this extremely versatile medium through the engagement of personal expression.
Course Code: BVA-208 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
We are living in an age of images, where the creator of one image is simultaneously a consumer of another and where images are perceived in a continuous sequence. This course is premised on the intersection of the virtual and the real. Students are encouraged to find new resources of images and to “re-image” these. They manipulate, appropriate or reinvent existing images thus engaging in a practice that may touch upon themes of visual culture, ownership, authorship, ecology, image classifications and translations between the digital and analogue worlds.
Body Matters Through Drawing
Course Code: BVA-209 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course offers a thorough study of the human body, anatomy and its underlying muscular and skeletal systems. By drawing the human body referenced from life models, photographs, posters and projections, students are able to strengthen their observational skills and gain a clear understanding of the construction of this form and its contexts. The emphasis is not only on basic proportions but also on understanding the expressive quality of the body. Students reconsider mechanical ways of perception in order to find personal expression with the overlap of skill.
The Critical Lens: Photographic Approaches to Art-Making
Course Code: BVA-213 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
From newspapers to social feeds, billboards to pop-up ads, photography is ubiquitous in the physical and digital world. This currency of photography has raised important questions about truth, representation, identity, and ethics. Merging photo theory with photo practice, this course provides students with a platform to explore both digital and chemical based photographic processes in addition to providing a space for conversation and debate. Lectures, group discussions, and critique will take place weekly and offer a stage for both technical and conceptual development.
Painting Without the Brush
Course Code: BVA-214 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course investigates contemporary and interdisciplinary approaches to painting. It aims to develop an understanding of painting practices beyond convention and in conversation with conceptual processes found in other mediums. Students are expected to question traditional painting materials, concepts and techniques while re-inventing these in relation to other forms of art-making, such as sculpture, performance, installation and other media. They investigate alternative material and conceptual approaches to how paintings can be created and exhibited to extend their knowledge of concepts, materials and techniques through experimentation.
Site, Sound and the Moving Image
Course Code: BVA-215 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
The course is focused on extending a critical understanding of contemporary video art, video installation practices and sound art practices in an expanded space beyond the white cube. It explores interdisciplinary understandings around video and sound by considering their interfaces in a multi-dimensional format. Students are expected to view time-based mediums not just as a rectangular flat screen, but as a generative and interactive space which may be assembled in immersive, experiential, sculptural and other surprising ways.
Fabricated Space Enquiry
Course Code: BVA-216 | Contact Time: 6 hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course looks at the development and study of skeletal structures within living things and thus at the appearance of the human body in relation to what it contains internally. Students also explore the physicality of objects through an in-depth analysis of the structures these are built upon. Moreover, they are expected to be critical and cognizant of the politics and history of such forms and skeletal containment. Students are also encouraged to engage with histories of sculptural practices and produce works that are considerate of the volume they displace and the spaces they inhabit.
Performance Art: Material / Immaterial Actions
Course Code: BVA-217 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
The course introduces students to a wide spectrum of performative formats, including the everyday, ritual, folk forms and artistic gestures. It closely considers the aesthetics and politics of time, action, presence and absence. Students will also examine specifically the site and context that the resultant works will occupy. Over the course of the semester, it is expected that these variables create increasingly complex arrangements including subversive viewer relationship; live, re-enacted, recorded, or virtual formats; collaborative practices; research based performances and others.
Course Code: BVA-218 | Contact Time: 6 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Studio
This course seeks to encourage students to be more experimental at exploring diverse possibilities and media to produce drawings. Drawing is not seen in the conventional sense as preparatory study for later work. Rather, it is considered an effective mode of visual expression and a generative action for furthering a critical inquiry. Projects will involve working with text, found images, exploring and examining contemporary visual culture and its impact on our society. Students are encouraged to use a series of steps exploring media to produce a singular work.
Fine Arts Theory Electives
Art in the Age of Camera
Course Code: BVA-210 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
This series of seminars facilitates a number of themes through readings, writing assignments, guest speakers and student presentations. Students are encouraged to explore a number of critical, historical and philosophical lenses for art and design practice. Students from diverse disciplines discuss such themes to understand and reflect on different intellectual perspectives.
Figure of The Artist
Course Code: BVA-211 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
Observing the historical trajectory of the discipline of art, it seems that the artist is just one variable among many that determine the character and direction of this thrust. Varyingly, the artist is present, absent, loud, silent, known, anonymous and many things besides these. This course examines how the figure has traversed through time being both the agent and the subject of transformation in art. It will consider roles as diverse as crafts-person, royal subject, citizen, collaborator, celebrity, intelligentsia, and others, and connects these perspectives to the stages of historical development through which they arise.
Cross Culture Encounters in the Age of Modernity
Course Code: BVA-219 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
The age of colonialism, broadly defined here as the long nineteenth century, was a period of intense interaction between the West and Middle East/South Asia region. These interactions were crucial in shaping some of the most important developments in the formation of modern South Asia as the century progressed. This course examines these interactions with an eye towards understanding some of the fundamental concepts that are applicable to this region today. The students examine terms such as nationalism, colonialism as well as look at travel accounts divided around specific themes.
Past into Present
Course Code: BVA-220 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
The course traces the origins of modern art and design in South Asia with a special focus on Pakistan. In the nineteenth century the British colonial state introduced technical education for commercial purposes in the Indian school system and set up art schools under British artist/ educators. The Mayo School of Art was one such institution that was established in Lahore by John Lockwood Kipling. Colonialism led to westernization through which international modernist concepts were introduced across India that impacted the production of art and design. Students study and analyse the chronology of events that shaped modernism in our region.
Text and Image
Course Code: BVA-212 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
The relationship of text and image are typically imagined to exist in a hierarchy. Supposedly, these are oppositional binaries that exist in unstable relationships. The image allows complete sight of itself in the first instant. Text, on the other hand, posits time, linearity and a further degree of abstraction against the sensorial reality of image. This course examines the diverse ways in which the two variables can be arranged that it defeats simplistic notions of oppositional binaries.
Course Code: BVA-221 | Contact Time: 3 Hours per week | Credits: 3 | Theory
This course builds on the similarly titled seminal essay by Hito Steyerl positing that in the contemporary world, images typically considered ‘poor’ have the potential of being more impactful since what is lost in resolution is gained in velocity. It covers formats through which easy sharing of ‘byte’ sized information results in perceptible and imperceptible transformation of our social, cultural and political conditions. Of pertinent concern is the nature of ‘viral’ information and its scope of impact. Similarly, artistic practices that rely on imperfection and low-fi aesthetic are conceptually investigated.
Foundation: 36 credits | 12 courses
6 Mandatory Courses: 3 Studio + 2 Theory + 1 Studio Theory Hybrid + 1 Zero Credit course through advisement.
6 Elective Courses: 4 Studio + 2 Theory
Post-Foundation: 96 credits | 26 Courses
11 Mandatory Courses (51 credits): 6 Major Studio + 5 mandatory Theory Courses
15 Elective Courses (45 credits): 10 Studio Electives (min. 4 major specific) + 5 Theory Courses Electives (min. 2 major specific)
TOTAL: 131 | 38 Courses + Degree Show, along with an Extended Essay