Sculpture at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Cultural Exchange Program
For Seema Nusrat, no material is unusable to make a sculpture. Drawing inspiration from the fudgy texture of Styrofoam food containers to the silky smoothness of neckties, Nusrat makes her sculptures from unusual objects. Blush picks her brain for her thought process and what it means to be a sculptor in Pakistan.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK
I work in sculpture and installation medium; most of my work deals with the exploration of the human body, the narrative it contains and the complex contradictions we live with. What materials do you use for your sculptures? My materials are chosen according to the subject matter I want to address. In my earlier works I have used newspapers, plastic bags, pipes, which were then assembled into massive structures emphasizing the work was that goes into reusing garbage. Later, the choice of material became more conceptual, I worked with neckties and belts to generate gender related questions of our society
YOU DERIVE YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
The necktie sculptures were inspired from draped figures; some forms were derived from Greek goddesses. It was the exploration of the body in its absence, which forces the viewer to imagine a body inside those sculptures. The choice of neckties in the sculpture suggests patriarchal systems, our consumer society, and western influences influencing how we clothe our bodies.
- Venus de Milo, VM Art Gallery, Karachi
DO YOU OFTEN DIVE BACK INTO ART HISTORY & MYTHOLOGY?
I do. For example, in my recent work ‘Baldia Inferno’ written in response to the Baldia factory fire, I used a reproduction of Brughel’s ‘Triumph of death’, to talk about the inevitability and horror of death, which the factory workers witness within the locked doors.
Triumph of Death after Brughel, Baldia Inferno show
WHAT IS SUCCESSFUL ART FOR YOU?
Artwork that makes you think, what you are looking at and that raises questions in your mind, rather than making a statement of what it is, is what I think is successful art.
You have been invited to attend Artist in Residence program outside Pakistan, can you talk about the importance of these programs.
The Artist in Residence program gives you an experience and exposure to another country, culture and most importantly to work with artists from other countries. It is a great opportunity to be in a dynamic cultural exchange programs, which helps you a lot in reflecting on your own work.
Sculpture at Gasworks Residency, London
TELL US ABOUT THE WORK YOU DID IN LONDON
During my stay in London, I used to travel within London a lot. I used to walk, take the Tube or the bus. As I spent a lot of time outside, I mostly had take-away food, which was popular according to my observation in the Tube, buses and roads of London. I found the boxes and disposable cutlery pilling up on my studio desk and I realized how much fast food I was taking, unconsciously. However, the time spent in London and the eating habits provoked me to explore the obese human form rather than the conventional human form, which I was doing earlier in my sculptures. The disposable plastic cutlery, and sandwich boxes were used to make the forms.
PAKISTANI WOMEN DON’T ALWAYS GET THE BEST TREATMENT IN A MALE-DOMINATED SOCIETY. HOW IS IT IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
I don’t think such gender discrimination exists, we have lot of female artist heading Fine Arts departments in many important institutions of Pakistan and showing their work in museums and galleries abroad.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS
I am working for a solo show, expected in November.
YOUR ADVICE TO ASPIRING SCULPTORS
I would advise them follow their heart. When you do that, everything falls into place.
View more of Seema’s work here