Literally Art — Three-dimensional calligraphic collages by Ghulam Mohammad

His solo show at canvas gallery will remain open until Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Nadia Faisal

KARACHI: First Pakistani to be honoured with the prestigious Jameel Prize last year; Ghulam Mohammad, who has captured the eyes of the Islamic world with his miniature collages of old text, grew up in a remote village of Balochistan. Carving and assembling written words from second hand Urdu books letter by letter, his three-dimensional works currently on display at Canvas primarily depict his thoughts and exploration of language and identity.

Whether pasted on wasli, collected in a small bottle, or woven together like a carpet; the intricate collages created out of his fascination with language, also reflect his secondary influences coming from calligraphy and miniature.

Stripping every word to bring language to its bare basics only to reconstruct again, the painstakingly difficult and time-consuming process is what Mohammad loves more than the actual outcome itself.

A catharsis of sorts, the act is not only meditative but also essential to his practice, says Mohammad who has been exhibiting his collages at Pakistan’s top art galleries even before he graduated in 2013.

From the carpet sized paper collage, made out of woven strips of Urdu books — to the small glass bottle filled up with letters from the whole book — each piece on display at the gallery has taken months to construct, says the artist whose artistic journey from a far flung area of Balochistan to Quetta, Lahore and then to Istanbul, as the recipient of Jameel Prize 2016 in a brief career spanning three years, has won him critical acclaim internationally.

Youngest and perhaps the least known out of the three Pakistani artists nominated for the 4th edition of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s prestigious Jameel Prize — Ghulam Mohammad standing out for the excellence of concept and execution, was declared the winner last June.

An alumni and faculty member of the School of Visual Arts and Design, Beacon House National University (BNU), Lahore, Ghulam Mohammad currently resides in Lahore.

His solo show at canvas gallery will remain open until Thursday, April 6th, 2017.