Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grasping Huma Mulj’s art practice

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1970, Huma Mulji completed her Bachelors in Fine Art from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 1995 and is currently an MFA candidate at the Transart Institute, Donau-Universität Krems, Austria.

She has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally. Mulji's participation in recent selected exhibitions include ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, The Saatchi Gallery, London in 2010, ‘Hanging Fire : Contemporary Art from Pakistan’, at Asia Society, NY, and Half Life, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaque Gallery, Lahore Pakistan in 2009.

In 2008 she participated in ‘Farewell to Post Colonialism’, Third Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, China; ‘Desperately Seeking Paradise’, Pakistan Pavilion, ART DUBAI, UAE and ‘Arabian Delight’, Rohtas Gallery, Lahore.

She has said of her works in a note, “Looking at the absurdities and conflicts of living in an urban society in transition, of 'living 200 years in the past and 30 years in the future’ simultaneously, my works broadly address the visual and cultural overlaps of language, image and taste that create the most fantastic collisions. Looking at this phenomenon with formal and conceptual irony and humor, the works are surreal juxtapositions of images. Rather than dwell on existing theoretical issues of living and working in a post-colonial country, the work for me is research into the realities of living in Pakistan.

The works also explore the possibilities of ‘making’ in Pakistan, of the conflicting availability of low-tech methods of fabrication, together with exquisite traditional crafts; materials and forms that come from another time, or those that are ‘imported’, ‘newly discovered’ or ‘re-appropriated’, often discovering stunning design solutions, for everyday design problems.

The artist living in Lahore teaches at the School of Visual Arts, Beaconhouse National University. Her mixed media & enamel paint on canvas ‘Memory of a Blue’, which portrays both the farcical and ironic juxtapositions of the gradual wearing down of glossy albeit false metropolitan glitter as well as spectacle, is on view at Frieze 2012.

(Image courtesy: Project 88)

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