Miniatures by a Designer

Author: Shamim Akhter | Publication: Daily News– Weekend (p.3) | Dated: 17 Jan 2008

Chawkandi Art fared well to 2007 by hosting an exhibition of miniature paintings by Fatima Zahra on 18th December 2007. The show ran until the end of 2007. Mostly involved with research, and education, Fatima takes time out to experiment with new approaches to her art and design. This exhibition, her first in Pakistan for more than a decade, depicts her research abilities and touches all materials and motifs and figuration on her canvases. “A seated noble”, “Mystery of Alif”, “The tree of knowledge in the paradise garden- I” am good examples to quote. There is watercolour, gauche, white gold, and gold leaf and collage on wasli.

There are elements from traditional design and modern technology; spaces are woven all over with design. In Seated Noble, the gentleman is in a casual dress with a gold crown with huqqa in hand; introduction of ceiling fan suddenly brings the Noble into today’s surroundings. Paradise Garden has been rendered with abstract approach. The spirit of her early Bulleh Shah Series seems lurking behind the canvases. Portrait of Rumi his seated on a decorative background bordered with flowers and figures, some of which tend to be referential.

Academically a distinguished artist, Fatima Zahra is a multi-skilled visual artist and designer, with more than 12 years of wide and varied experience in art and design education, painting, drawing, book illustration, surface design, curricula planning, research and development at the undergraduate & postgraduate level. Her fifteen miniatures at Chawkandi speak about her innovative ideas, passion for research, education and technology.

Zahra has a brilliant educational career. She has BA in Fine Arts and MA in Painting from the Royal college of Art, London (passed with distinction), followed by a PhD in Fine Art.  She has taught since 1993 at the Undergraduate & postgraduate level both in the UK and abroad. She has also conducted regular workshops on painting / drawing for young adults & adults, at venues such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, The British Museum London, Birmingham Museum, etc. she has delivered numerous illustrated talks, conducted seminars and has been actively involved in developing the (Traditional & Contemporary) Visual Islamic Arts and Design curricula at the Underergraduate and Postgraduate level. She was also declared the best artist of the year Royal College of Art degree show.

She has exhibited nationally and internationally and her works are included in major private collections that of HRH Prince of Wales.