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The Good Earth

Author: Sheherbano Hussain      Publications: Newsline– Artline (p.101)      Dated: Oct 2000

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Eleven contemporary ceramicists, from pioneers to newcomers, displayed their unique and individual approach to the medium in Pakistan, displayed a wide range of stylized clay structures with a variety of glazes and textures, Tariq Jawed has played an integral role in keeping the ceramics scene alive in Karachi, through his ceramic workshops and kiln facilities. His exhibit consisted largely of three dimensional sculptural assemblages, both on a small and large scale.

Nanahat Latia and Ishrat Suhrwardy place a lot of emphasis on the functionality of their ceramic designs.  Formerly designing indoor-garden pots, Nabahats latest collection was inspired by the intriguing shapes of dry leaves from her garden. Ishrats forms, on the other hand, were inspired by Far Eastern traditions, such as the Ikebana style of flower arrangement and the Japanese tea ceremony. Her peacock headpieces, which transformed the mundane terracotta foot scrubber, were a striking part of her varied display.

Newcomes Salman Ikram, Izbah Mansoor and Arji Karim preferred to explore the various technical possibilities of the medium. Saman Shamsie and Shazia Zuberi, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries of the medium to create something that seemed to be influenced by personal experience.

Trained as a classical dancer in her formative years, Shazia was taught to build a narrative through the language of the limbs, an experience that infused her ceramic figurines. Saman, also a graduate of Alleghany College like Shazia, prefers to hand build her pieces using the pinch technique. This gives her the liberty to create incredibly spontaneous and fluid forms.

Paris-based Suraiya Hasan added a different dimension to the show with her wall plaques and platters.  Exceptionally skilled in the use of high temperature glazes, Suraiya created beautiful surfaces by combining subtly glazed textures in muted tones with calligraphy.

The exhibition was Pakistans first comprehensive show of contemporary ceramicists. The range of participants was diverse, from pioneers in the field to newcomers, each with a unique and individual approach to the medium.