Thursday, October 30, 2008
Recognised for his expertise in non-toxic printmaking techniques, Aleem Dad Khan left an indelible imprint on the sensibilities of Islamabad’s art admirers with a truly absorbing collection of monotype prints, which went on display for public viewing at Khaas Gallery here on Wednesday.
The show is titled ‘Eye Light’ and is heavily inspired by the cultural experiences of the artist during his residency at the famous Swansea Print Workshop in the UK, where he started off by expanding his skills, and ended up sharing them with others as a teacher. He participated in the Pakistan Print-Makers Exchange Programme and the Festival of Muslim Cultures in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Taking to ‘The News’ at the exhibition’s opening, Aleem shed light on the show’s title: “Eye is synonymous to I, as a person, and to what I see around me. I seek harmony in repetition. Through my work, I have tried to understand everything I experienced; not just on the surface but on a level where I became who I am — a wanderer, a diasporite.”
Aleem said he cannot work on one theme, which is why most of his images do not compare with each other. “I have tried to print self-observed scenarios of how I, as a Pakistani, saw myself in the western society; and how I felt coming out of a functional structure to one that was chaotic,” he explained.
Interestingly, only a few of Aleem’s prints involve the use of a press; he has mostly relied on old photographic techniques, and the use of spoons and screen to obtain the desired effect. He uses woodcut, collagraph, etching, and chine-colle, a special print-making technique in which the image is transferred to a surface that is bonded to a heavier support in the printing process. One purpose is to allow the printmaker to print on a much more delicate surface, such as Japanese hand-made paper, which Aleem has used. Another purpose is to provide a background colour behind the image that is different from the surrounding backing sheet. Again, Aleem has used chine-colle to serve as a backdrop for a majority of his prints. The technique enables the artist to achieve colour without actually applying it.
Aleem also draws inspiration from his birthplace Hunza. His work is richly flavoured and involves the use of a variety of natural materials which establish a dialogue with the viewer. The artist completed his Bachelors in Fine Arts from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 2002, and is currently teaching both at the NCA’s Rawalpindi campus, as well as at the Fatima Jinnah Women University. The exhibition, which offers 43 prints grouped as 28, will continue till November 10. SOURCE