URBAN DIALOGUES COLLABORATIONS 2013
Caroline Jaine, Soraya Sikander, Janice Wilkins
The above artists propose working in collaboration in response to the
Urban Dialogues 2013 theme of “Reflections”
“Becoming Something Else”
We are three diverse women living in the UK and Pakistan aged 29, 43 and 51 who would use the opportunity to reflect on the cultural and religious journeys made by our forefathers (and mothers).
From Cork to the East End
From Poland to Britain
From India to Pakistan
A dilution of Catholicism
A denial of Judaism
A conversion from Hinduism
Becoming non-religious, Christian, Muslim.
And then becoming us.
We would hold a series of sharing/listening sessions across thousands of miles, as each of us researches the past and reflects on the impact on our own identity. This process will be very much part of the collaboration – it may be recorded, documented, celebrated. We will meet using skype, and although not essential face to face meetings may also be possible as travel between the UK and Pakistan is being considered. A combined aesthetic outcome will be developed through the sessions – it may be a single object, embellished with each of the women’s responses. It may be simply the presentation of the process and dialogue. Or it may be a presented as a complex set of individual creative responses, woven through the structure of the listening exercises.
Each of us have already worked significantly on the attached mood boards, looking at work, shapes, colours and materials that inspire and some strong individual ideas have emerged. Soraya is motivated to use colour as means to express her cultural identity, Janice looks more sculpturally at objects that hold meaning, whilst Caroline is inspired by the chalk marks made by her ancestor who was a tailor. For each the use of fabric is a common ground in our work and stories – and yet we want to explore unexpected “conversions” in the use of material. A shirt from wood? A shoe of stone? The juxtaposition of the watery greys of London, the lush greens of Ireland and the vibrancy of India/Pakistan. And each artist enjoys the aesthetic of the hand-written family tree.
The mood boards also contain examples of past work relevant to this proposal.
Although some idea of aesthetics have been discussed, we feel it is important for the process to inform the final presented art-work and would like to leave space for modification, development and even conflict through the journey. All of us are interested in process and research presented as art.
Caroline and Janice have collaborated creatively before with socially based work, but have never touched on personal or spiritual matters. Both consider this a major challenge! Soraya and Caroline have been exchanging emails for about a year. Both with an interest in how Pakistan is presented to the world, they have been seeking an opportunity to collaborate since they first spoke. Caroline has been engaging with Urban Dialogues for a number of years, primarily through her cross-faith collaborative piece “The Mary Profile Picture” and welcomes the opportunity to work creatively with 3FF.
We believe we offer a strong collaboration of committed, qualified, diverse and experienced artists who will not be afraid to challenge each other. We are applying for this commission to demonstrate how three women from very different backgrounds can operate together – our common ground discovered through creativity, but may be evident elsewhere. We have stories to tell.
“Becoming Something Else” references both our ancestors cultural and religious journeys, but also allows us through genuine self-reflection to bond – the “something else” being the collaboration and the art that we produce as a result.
About the author
Leading art gallery of Pakistan, Unicorn Gallery was Founded by art critic Seemah Niaz. Unicorn specialises in the history of Pakistani and Indian painting and has presented works by some of the most distinguished South Asian painters including Ustad Allahbux, Abdur Rahman Chughtai, Ahmed Parvez, Bashir Mirza, Colin David, F N Souza, Gulgee, Jehangir Sabavala, Krishen Khanna, M F Husain, Murtaza Bashir, S H Raza, Shakir Ali and Vasudeo S. Gaitonde. Unicorn has a high reputation for the quality of its exhibitions, Annual Art Book Fair exclusive to Unicorn, art scholar talks and documentary screenings. Unicorn is also active in the preservation of the history of regional painting by way of a prolific production of art monographs and books. Unicorn Gallery has hosted retrospectives of major masters including: Sadequain’s Rubbiyats, Jameel Ahmed A Forgotten Master, Ghulam Rasul - Pakistan’s most influential landscape painter and most recently Laila Shahzada a life - The legacy of a pioneer of modern painting in Pakistan. Unicorn Gallery was Founded by Seemah Niaz. Unicorn Gallery specializes in Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art and has a high reputation for the quality of its exhibitions, annual art book fairs, lectures, documentary screenings, launches, seminars, internships and other opportunities. Unicorn Gallery holds numerous thought-provoking exhibitions in collaboration with curators, art galleries, museums, institutes and organizations, and sources to auction houses. We encourage scholarly research and exploration of art as seen from its historical, cultural, and social contexts with art critics and historians. The gallery produces its own exhibitions including traveling shows, introduces new art publications and hosts retrospectives of major painters as well as represents emerging artists, who experiment in a wide-range of media, display technical skill, diversity in portfolio and are innovative in approach. Unicorn Gallery’s exhibitions have encompassed all the visual arts including: painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, serigraphs, photography, architecture, film, video and performance. SEEMAH NIAZ was educated at St.George’s School in London, England and Lahore, Pakistan. She is a M.A previous in English Language and Literature from Punjab University, and B.A. in French and English Literature from Kinnaird College. She has been a freelance journalist and has contributed articles to Herald, Newsline, Dawn, Star etc. She has curated numerous exhibitions on South Asian Art in Dubai, New Delhi, Singapore and London and is the Founder of Unicorn Gallery, Karachi, and Unicorn Space, Dubai. She is widely traveled and has taught at The Lyceum School, St. Patrick’s, Karachi, Westminster College and David Game. Seemah is actively involved in social work, promoting literacy and child health in Pakistan. She is the author of the ‘Mona Naqsh’ biography. Niaz has lectured on Pakistani Art at the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in London.