LAHORE: Social pressures and complexes, acceptability and self-discovery, emotions or just personal experiences at various stages of life formed the basis for most of the thesis projects of students of textile design from Kinnaird College for Women University (KCWU).

A ‘degree show’ of 23 graduates of BFA Textile Design from KCWU’s fine arts department was inaugurated at Alhamra Art Gallery on Wednesday by Kinnaird College Principal Dr Rukhsana David. The opening day was attended by parents, relatives and friends of the graduates as well as a large number of art enthusiasts. The exhibition runs till Friday (tomorrow).

Using modern techniques, fusion of textures, a combination of conventional and non-conventional textile material, the students have created metaphoric, larger than life, evocative installations and art pieces.

Hiba Qadoos has expressed her “rootlessness” or home-sickness that she experienced after moving to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia for studies. Through the life of a tree, and using the latching, hooking and quilling techniques, Hiba depicts her growth in three stages with wool, cotton thread and silk thread: experiencing social anxiety immediately after moving, feeling lost and being unable to make friends or communicate with anyone, and the current stage of getting better gradually.

Aymen Hassan highlights the impact of trauma through four stages of a mind of a neglected child. For her thesis based on childhood trauma and emotional neglect, she metaphorically represents untreated trauma with a honey bee that bugs a person while buzzing around. Aymen had incorporated conventional and non-conventional material like Styrofoam, polymer clay, knitting, knotting, crochet, weaving, to portray a calm state of mind, trauma setting in, malignance increasing and total destruction of a mind in four separate glass showcases.

Maira Gilani explores the concept of “buying beauty” in this era of cosmetic surgeries and other treatments to achieve artificial, socially acceptable standards of beauty. She hasn’t used much textile in her art display, but utilises plastic mannequin and doll heads to depict how many people are indulged in a race to look better than the rest, not settling in themselves. Instantly, she says, ‘beauty’ is achieved through makeup and if that doesn’t satisfy a person they move to semi-permanent makeup and surgeries. “Basically, we are always thinking about the problems with our appearance; these problems exist only in our heads,” she says.

Fatima Rizwan realized her childhood photographic records with her father were lost, so in her thesis has used pictures of random people she met through her travels; she thinks photographs are a great asset in a person’s life. She has used double exposure effect and photo transfer technique “so people stop and observe what’s happening inside the frame”.

Self-discovery and acceptance are the source of inspiration for Izza Tahir who has depicted her life journey through a series of large panels with various figures and objects painted on them. From being a science student to realizing her true calling, art, was a “life-changing experience” for Izza. The concluding panel portrays peace and a “better position”, while the thorns in between represents the stage she was being held back from pursuing her passion. Izza has used angler fish as a metaphor for when she used to be angry all the time and then found her way out.

Being the eldest child, Arooba Zafeer always felt under immense scrutiny and pressure of setting a benchmark for her younger siblings, with no margin of error. Her artwork, titled ‘Within her eyes’, depicts her emotions and thoughts that she says she keeps to herself, with several large pairs of eyes mounted on plastic stands illustrating eyes being a window into one’s soul. She has used digital print with running stitch, photo transfer technique, mesh with embroidery, wool embroidery, coffee technique, oil paint on canvas, palette knife and tissue.

Maham Moosa has narrated a personal story – her great grandfather, a nawab, lost everything to Partition, and faced a trauma after shifting from a royal lifestyle to that of a commoner. Her display comprises organza panels suspended from the ceiling, depicting the privacy one loses and the transparency that it brings forth. The pieces of cloth are inscribed with the nawab’s account of the events of independence, and his phrase written in Hindi that means ‘don’t ask me about the cost of freedom’. Moreover, blocks of plaster of Paris depict through photo transfer technique the buildings that remain even when people pass on, and carved wooden blocks portray the memories etched in one’s mind.

Expressions, self-acceptance and moods are the central theme of Momina Imran’s work that uses pixelation and pointillism techniques forming facial expressions through paint, buttons and one-inch units wrapped with coloured thread on small and large frames. She has worked on embracing imperfections, accepting oneself, abandoning filters and social media pressures about looking a certain way.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2022

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