If Roses were blue
Karachi based visual artist and writer, Imrana Tanveerâ€™s work incorporates weaving and textiles, and appropriates iconic images from both Western and Pakistani art and culture to address social and political issues. Thereâ€™s a sense of vivid engagementÂ with history in Tanveerâ€™s oeuvre with a perspectiveÂ that is both yielding and stark.
Tanveerâ€™s first solo show was featured in the top 10 solo and retrospective exhibitions of 2013 byÂ Islamic ArtÂ Magazine.Â She has been shortlisted and featured in the Golden 15 award category of the International Emerging Artist Award hosted by Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Dubai; She is also the winner of IEAA 2016 awards exhibition in Brussels, Belgium. Her work is part of the renowned collections of British High Commission, Islamabad, Amin Gulgee Gallery, Karachi, and Lerimonti Gallery, USA, to name but a few.Â Imrana shares her vision with Afshan ShafiÂ Please tell us about your background as an artist and your education in this regard.
I graduated from the Textile Institute of Pakistan, Karachi as a textile designer in 2008 and started working in the denim industry. Those one and half years were literally and psychologically â€œblueâ€Â for me. Working with mostly/only in shadesÂ of blue and being restricted creativelyÂ and denied the ability to design at your own pace was very disturbing. I eventually quit my job and moved forward to pursue my creative desires by enrolling Â in a Visual Arts Masterâ€™s program in 2010 at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, as suggested by my husband.
Which artists, local or international, haveÂ influenced or informed your point of view the most?Â
Those would beÂ Vincent Van Gogh, Yinka Shinabore, Ruby Chishti, Risham Saeed, Anish Kapoor, Ai Weiwei, YayoiÂ KusamaÂ andÂ Do-Ho Suh.
Blue of the War Sky, paper and thread, 94×50 inches approx, 2016
I See a Premonition (61), 102×75 cms, inkjet print on artpaper and zari thread, 2016
Â Kiss of Love, 102×66 cms, inkjet print on artpaper and cotton thread, 2014
What has been a seminal, life changing experience in terms of your art?
I think as life moves on an artistâ€™s inspirations and experiences change too. Quitting my job in 2010 and joining the NCA was phenomenal and since then Iâ€™ve been creating constantly and that creativity is shaping my life. Having a design background and joining art school was a very difficult experience. Those two years of studies were critical, as well as helpful in developing and polishing the artist in me.
I See a Premonition (64), 102×75 cms, inkjet print on artpaper and zari thread, 2016
Which of your creations are you most attached to and why?
Well this is a bit like asking a mother who her favourite child is. My work is really dear to me but my most favorite creation is Post Betrayal.Â ThisÂ is an installation canopy from my thesis work, which evolved and formed after I purchased the camouflage fabric. The market from which I bought the fabric used these canopies for shelter from the sun and to cover goods on trucks in bad weather conditions during transportation. The parachute camouflage is also used for tents. I wanted to use that canopy and replicate the process of punching holes in it by repeating the process of punching rivets numerous times. These thousands of small metallic rivets punched on the camouflage tent represent bullet holes.
The premise of the work is as follows: the purpose of the tent is to protect and provide shelter and the rivet is used to strengthen it, but by overdoing the punching, it represents our own behaviour and attitude towards the safety of the state and borders.
Post Betrayal, Metallic Rivets on Parachute and Nylon Lace,120×144 inches, 2012 (Photo Credit, Aly Naqvi)
What themes do you find yourself drawn towards most often in your art?
Iâ€™m really fond of many ArtÂ Movements. Some really inspire me and I have appropriated many masterpieces from different Art Movements (e.g. Pop Art, Classical, Renaissance etc.)Â in my works.Â And sometimes I just flip through art books andÂ delight my eyes in going through the history of the Arts.
If you could travel back in time to an era in art history which period would you choose and why?
I would like to seeÂ Van GoghÂ paintingÂ Starry Night,Â MichelangeloÂ sculptingÂ PietaÂ and Bosch paintingÂ The Garden of Earthly Delights. IÂ want to travel many eras…to me art history contains a wealth of visual stories and inspires artists on many imaginative and intellectual levels.
What is your dream project?
Right now Iâ€™m thinking andÂ dreaming of large scale public installations. Iâ€™m also dreaming of incorporating the Empire State Building andÂ Guggenheim Museum in my work.
What work of art do you wish you owned?
I would love to ownÂ Van Goghâ€™sÂ Starry NightÂ of course,Â Jan Van Eyckâ€™sÂ ArnolfiniÂ Portrait,Â Hokusaiâ€™sÂ Great WaveÂ andÂ Pieter Brueghelâ€™sÂ The Procession to Calvary.
Which artists living or dead would you have loved to collaborate with?
I would like to collaborate withÂ Zaha Hadid, Peter Paul Ruben, Imran Qureshi, Van Gogh, Ai WeiweiÂ andÂ Cai Guo-Qiang
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
My work has received usually positive and welcoming responses. I loved the response of my last two installations at the Taseer Art Gallery and Sanat Art Gallery in 2016. At TAG, I filled the entire gallery floor with rose petals and allowed visitors to feel and experience the sensational installation. While at Sanat the gallery was covered with thermocol balls, whichÂ represented the beauty that has been lost in the brutal past, and that can only be remembered through a glimpse of visual delights.
Other than that my first solo exhibition titledÂ I Saw Two Crows Building a Nest under His HatÂ was considered one ofÂ TOP 10 exhibitionsÂ of 2013 in line withÂ Monir Farmanfarmaian, Reza Derakshani, Rana BegumÂ andÂ MaÃ¯mouna Guerresi, etc.
Status Quo Ante, 40 x 54 inches (approx), Â Paper and Thread, 2014
Roses were Blue (edition of 25), 16 x 14 inches approx, Paper and Thread, 2014
Roses were Blue, Installation, rose petals on floor, 2016
What are you working on as a future project?
I feel like the â€œfutureâ€ is a myth. Iâ€™m living in the present and producing work for a few exhibitions in line. Iâ€™m also in the process of shifting and organizing my studio space at the moment.