Video art by faculty and graduates of Mariam Dawood School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) was showcased at Harvard-Brown Pakistani Film Festival 2015. Works by Asif Khan, Hifsa Farooq, Waleed Shehzad, Haider Ali Jan and Rabia Hassan were showcased during three-day festival.
Held from 16th to 18th October, 2015 at Harvard University, MA, USA, the festival brought multiple layers of contemporary Pakistani visual culture to Harvard University. The event drew packed houses, mostly comprising members of the Pakistani diaspora in New England, as well as students and faculty from Harvard and the surrounding universities. Participants included directors of contemporary Pakistani blockbusters, guerrilla filmmakers, internationally renowned scholars, and multimedia artists. Curated over a weekend of feature films, documentaries, short films, video art, panel discussions, and Q&A’s with the directors, and drawing crowds from the entire region, the event proved to be a much needed addition to New England’s cultural life.
The work presented by faculty and graduates of BNU was highly admired. Here is a brief look at the work:
By Rabia Hassan (MAADS 2012)
Dekh ( Gaze) was screened on 16th October as part of the festival. This piece produced by Rabia Hassan was part of her Master’s thesis at the Beaconhouse National University in 2014. The work deals with a shot reverse shot camera technique which is commonly used in films and through which visual relations are created between actors. It is often used to produce a dominant male gaze in Pakistani films. In this piece it is neutralized by editing the parts where female actors withdraw their gaze. Each image has been zoomed in and slowed down to emphasize the act of mutual gazing that eliminates dominance submission patterns and maintains equal power relations between the two sexes.
By Asif Khan (Faculty member and graduate – BFA 2015)
The work explores the relation between medium and expression using visuals from landscape, portrait and still life. The disturbance, in a calm atmosphere, caused by gesture or passing by makes it difficult to bear after sometime. The repeat reverse loop reinforces the idea itself so that it loses its excitement. The visual construction makes the real fake and the fake becomes real which is the conflict embedded in the everyday.
By Hifsa Farooq (Visiting Faculty and graduate - BFA 2015)
The work explores and questions power dynamics within family structures using a visual language developed from the most mundane of tasks, including eating, sleeping, washing dishes or even the simple act of looking outside one’s window. It is through these visuals that the artist has examined hierarchies, which exist in our home and society at large. The principal concern is to show the power struggles between people living together under the same roof, husbands and wives, father and child through memory and beliefs so as to glimpse the volatile and unspoken processes that govern households.
By Waleed Shehzad (BFA 2015)
The work speaks of those moments in life that pass us by, leaving our lives without a trace. Surely there comes a time when we recall those moments, but they carry little meaning. We glance at mundane things in our life, passing by still figures and unmoving objects, unaware of their significance in our existence, their role in our lives. Perhaps if we venture into those realms, we will realize how they’ve come to make our history. This work is the representation of those strands of life.
By Haider Ali Jan (BFA 2008)
Haider Ali’s work borrows heavily from various genres of Pakistan’s visual culture. He draws from images found on street corners, posters, on television and in newspapers but also on the rich history of sub-continental art including miniature painting, sculpture, architecture and design. For this particular work, Haider have worked with a Punjabi movie song attempting to highlight the movements between female and male figures.