A contextual visual perspective of image making in Pakistan since 1947

Prof Doc Thesis

Jafri, Murtaza 2001. A contextual visual perspective of image making in Pakistan since 1947. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Digital Industries
AuthorsJafri, Murtaza
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The discussion here considers the background to my research, my developing practice as an artist and an artist in residence.
In my experience of teaching undergraduate students at the National College of Arts in Pakistan I have noticed that many of them tend to be influenced by certain intellectual ideas such as Postmodernism which are coming through from the West. Unlike the West we are still a very traditional culture in many ways, and our own indigenous traditions come
from very different philosophical roots. In addition there are some interesting hybrids and this profusion leads to considerable cultural confusion.
In coming to a satisfactory understanding of what some of the basic elements are that provoke me as an artist to create a visual language in the years after the partition of my country, I have also been involved in consideration of how a new Pakistani culture has been shaped having been
through the traumatic transitions since 1947.
It is these issues that I have explored in the following chapters and in the context of related sociocultural and religious references.
In recent research which I will discuss, my focus has been to dissect the process that gives the artist's mark its meaning and particularly by approaching the visual sensation of calligraphic strokes.
Artists in the East working with content of line and the mark, relate calligraphy to the Muslim personality, spirituality, beauty and the history of religion. Western artists such as Franz Kline have also explored the use
of textual language as mark making but from a secular context. The two different cultures have much in common in relation to exploring writing whose function is no longer only communication or expression of ideas but the world beyond ordinary perception; that is aesthetic perception.
Spatial relationships which lie within my imagery evolved from a grid that established a dialogue and allowed the viewer to enter into the aesthetic structure of the image. At one stage I realized that the geometric grid is
subsumed into calligraphic marks and there is no separation of the viewer from the underlying sense of movement.
As I will discuss, by experimenting with different materials/surfaces and exploring various techniques of image making my practice has given me the opportunity to evolve a more refined methodology and a crystallised
synthesis of the formal qualities of the mark and its spatial relationship.
Included in this overview of my research, is reference to my experience with students and in dialogue with other artists. I learnt from this dialogue that visual vocabulary is a personal experience and varies from person to
person and that this has to do with the individual's own context in time and space.

KeywordsArt; Visual language; Pakistani culture
Publication dates
PrintAug 2001
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Apr 2014
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