1. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
After graduating from the College of Fine Art (COFA), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia with a Postgraduate Degree in Design in 2001, I established the Department of Jewelry & Accessory Design within the School of Visual Art & Design at the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, Pakistan in 2004. This was the first Programme of its kind in Pakistan, which offered an undergraduate degree in Jewelry Design and my focus was to develop curricula and educational materials in addition to training faculty, professionals, craftspeople and students.
2. How would you describe your journey as a contemporary jeweller?
My interest in jewelry and objects grew from my freelance design practice after my undergraduate degree in Visual Communication Design at the National College of Arts, Lahore. I was always fascinated with found objects and collected everything from broken glass fragments to river stones. This gradually led to my work becoming a ‘space’ where precious metals and gemstones overlapped with ordinary ‘invaluable’ materials to make statement pieces.
My designs are journeys into the unexpected: imaginary landscapes (Landscape series) where one may find vivid red coral blooming unexpectedly in a plastic paradise. Or encounter a shimmering pearl lake beside a rocky island of pyrite….Each piece is a fluid attempt to create a thoughtful dialogue of the ‘natural’ and the ‘simulated’.
“And I dream in Red..’ is a narrative collection of brooches, where traces of memories overlap with surreal dreams.
3. What inspires you?
Nature and all the ‘treasures’ waiting to be discovered in the city of Lahore and beyond!
4.What direction do you see your work taking over the next 5/10 years?
I plan to take out more time to write about everything and anything, as these narratives eventually dictate my work.
5.What are your thoughts about the contemporary jewellery field evolving in South Asia?
The most challenging aspect of working as a contemporary artist-jeweler in this part of the world has been the notion of questioning the very definition of jewelry. The Sub-continent, with its rich history of precious jewels and ornaments dictates the widely accepted ideals of jewelry as body adornment with a distinct inherent ‘value’. Attempts to incorporate ‘non-precious’ materials and technology are resisted and embraced at the same time, thus posing more questions and leading to the exploration of exciting outcomes!
6.List of publications, projects and exhibitions that you’ve been involved in.
- Recipient of Australian Alumni Excellence Award for Education 2014 by the Government of Australia, Presented by the High Commissioner of Australia, Lahore, Pakistan, 2014
- Selected for Showcase of Jewelry Design Collection at The Beijing International Jewelry Exhibition 2013 by The Committee of Beijing International Design Week and The Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), Beijing, China, 2013 (as the first Jewelry Artist from Pakistan)
- ‘Humnawa’ Skills Training and Product Development for women in Muzaffargarh, (South Punjab) in collaboration with PSDF (Punjab Skills Development Fund), Lahore, Pakistan, 2012 which was nominated for the MacJannet Prize 2013 Honorable Mention Award by Talloires Network, Tufts University.
- Show of Jewelry Collection at launch of No Man’s Land Gallery, Delhi, India 2012
- Show of Jewelry Collection at Monsoon Festival, Alliance Francaise, Delhi, India 2012
- Design, Implementation and Training through Certificate Courses in various trade skills (wood crafting, chain making, stamping, etching, fashion accessories), Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, Pakistan, 2012-13
- Training of students, craftsmen and alumni in the Traditional Art of Vessel making in collaboration with German silversmith, Michael Boy and Anne Marie Schimmel-Haus, Goethe Institute, Lahore, Pakistan, 2011
- Master Trainer for Product & Design development for Bahawalpur Craftsmen (South Punjab) with AHAN, SMEDA (Small & Medium Enterprise Development Authority), Lahore, 2006
7.Where can one buy your work?
My design studio in Lahore
On the bench: Cast rose thorns, snowglobes and dandelions
On the wall: Paintings, drawings…
On the pod: Trance, Abida Parveen, Coke studio
In the drive: Files, documents, family photos
On the shelf: Books, books and more books…