Anusha Novlani is an emerging visual artist based in Karachi
She combines traditional and contemporary mediums to create versatile visual art that accurately depicts our society’s shortcomings.
Is there a particular theme in your artwork? If so, could you explain it?
I try to embrace my creativity and let it loose on any canvas, through any medium rather than pursue specialized art forms.
Therefore I believe I am a versatile visual artist with a keen interest in both traditional and contemporary mediums, and I aim to use that interest to express my opinions regarding identity, gender stereotypes and popular culture, in an attempt to dissect these schools of thoughts and question their validity and relevance on a superficial level.
Tell us more about your artwork. What inspires your artistic style?
I believe that the concept of personal identity is diminishing, which has lead to the formation of a social hierarchy that determines a person’s social standing rather unjustly.
This sense of superiority/inferiority imposed by the social hierarchy target vulnerable groups of people. The basis of sexism, religious racism etc. have come into being through them and these issues are only worsening because it is much easier to let a demolished building rot away rather than rebuild it with a new foundation.
However, rebuilding is not out of the question. One possible remedy is the formulation of a universal language which is an important element of my art. I want to show that people who might seem inherently different can connect with one another and those who might stand on different ends of the social spectrum could relate to themselves through this language.
Could you explain how you adapted this style in a project to express your views?
One of my works which I think resonates a lot with my views is titled, ‘Dear World, Hold on!’, which shows that every individual is both sides of the same coin.
People love to point out the flaws and shortcomings in others and in their surroundings while indulging in behavior that is responsible for those very flaws thus showcasing contradictory behavior. We desire peace but wage wars; we want to make the world a better place but refuse to do so through our actions.
Hence the multiple identities, either behind the screens of our mobile phones or in reality.
I’ve tried to give the image in our mobile phones, a 3D feel, and create a dialogue, by going through the process of multiple molding casting in fiber glass.
Is there anything that you have learnt or achieved as an art student that you would like to share?
Apart from an academic distinction in Fine Arts, if there is anything I have achieved as an art student it is perspective and open mindedness.
I initially thought that the key to becoming a successful painter was by portraying realistic paintings on canvas but soon enough, I came to the realization that art is limitless and in order to truly become a successful artist, I need to shift my focus from the medium to what’s really important which is the ability to perceive things with great depth.
Even though I lived all my life in a culturally diverse place such as Karachi, it wasn’t until I went to NCA and spent my time with them that I realized how short sighted I had been before. It truly made me understand the differences that exist in society and how they tear us apart rather than bring us closer.
What are you working on currently? Any plans for the future?
As of now, I am working part-time as an Arts teacher at Alpha Core, because the one thing I want to do apart from paint is give back what I have learnt over the years.
I am also working on an exciting project for Karachi Biennale 2019. Apart from that I am running a joint art based startup by the name of AR.T Studio where we’ll be indulging in different forms of media.
As far as the future is concerned, I have a few options lined up. Pursuing a masters degree is definitely on the list within the next 2 years preferably from a distinguished school in London. It would be a dream come true to study at a place such as Slade School of Fine Art.
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