Art Show ‘Towards Time’ in UAE By Pakistani Artist

Her works were created out of and in solitude within her studio during the coronavirus lockdown

Dubai-based Pakistani artist Zara Mahmood has introduced her first institutional solo show ‘Towards Time’ at Sharjah’s Maraya Art Center, reported The National.

Artwork by Zara Mahmood

‘Towards Time’, curated by Cima Azzam, suggests a pivotal departure from Zara’s established background in traditional printmaking, drawing and painting, gliding into the newer and more technological realms of photo transfers, video and digital prints on unconventional surfaces, the UAE-based newspaper reports.

Zara has lived in the UAE for almost three decades and is currently teaching at the American University in Dubai and at Zayed University.

A series of visuals, accentuating notions of what was, is and becomes showcases Zara’s latest exhibits. The images evoke parallels to the rituals and routines that constitute life on a daily basis; that leave no physical residue, impressions or marks. Using different forms of printing techniques on fragile surfaces that are prone to disintegration, Zara’s visual language has grown to embody modes of mark making born from videos stills of transient moments, describes Maraya Art Center.

Artwork by Zara Mahmood

Zara attended the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore, where she specialized in printmaking. After acquiring her undergraduate degree, she pursued Master’s program in Fine Arts at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), UK, with a focus on painting.

She has exhibited in Beirut, Dubai, Karachi, Lahore, Madrid, Sharjah and Philadelphia.

For Zara’s current exhibit, many of her works were created over the past three years and their conception and process can be traced back to a trip she took to Satwa’s fabric bazaar in Dubai.

Artwork by Zara Mahmood

She began experimenting with photo transfers on fabric and, after placing the printed image on fabric by a window, became fascinated with the way the light coming in from behind unexpectedly affected the picture.

Intrigued by the notion of printing “moving” images that shift and change from the impact of their environment, the Dubai-based Pakistani artist experimented and tried printing on other surfaces available in her studio and house, such as mylar and ceramic tiles.

UAE-based Pakistani artist Zara Mahmood

The entire work is like a musical time-lapse of a moment of solitude eliciting a similarly contemplative effect such as a large-scale Monet.

Dr Nina Heydemann, Maraya Art Center’s director, describes much of Mahmood’s work in the show as enacting a kind of “digital Impressionism,”using technological tools and what is readily available – from household surfaces to the desktop printer and a phone camera – to achieve the same soft, poetic blurriness encapsulated by an art movement.

Zara is also a member of the band ‘Sail into Night,’ so musical elements, specifically, tempo, is embedded in her visual practice, and highlighted in titles of works such as Frequencies (2020) and Listen (2019).

Her works were created out of and in solitude within her studio during the coronavirus lockdown. The basis of the works comes from stillness and focusing on the details.

Zara’s art show will remain open until September 29, 2022.

Content sourced from Business Recorder, The National, Magzoid, and Maraya Art Center website.