Drawing with language and visual metaphors, Alam critiques complex cultures of a post-colonial nation state/ home. Farina Alams’ process of detailed mark making is a deliberate effort to disseminate a response to a political and religious identity. Engaged in this way, Alam places words and symbols within a laboriously conceived graphic framework. A”naqsha” or map is dotted out in diminutive quill points, which she refers to as a “made up” language of text and image as an homage to the lexicon approach of craftsmen and artists under censorship imposed by Pakistani military and clerical leaders.
About recent projects such as “My Kolachi” Alam says: ‘I am very interested in how language used in media highlights an immediate relationship to an image. The feeding ground for my research is rooted in Pakistan and its chequered existence as a nation strained by a power battle between the army, the feudals, and the Islamic fundamentalists. Google images, the printed word and of course visits to my home town of Karachi fuel the works on paper.
The project is host to a series of influences picked from arab literary symbolism, local Pakistani craftsmanship and a play of words in Arabic,English and Urdu. As a Pakistani, I feel the undercurrent of national anxiety forms a political presence that is constant in my work. I intend to develop this series as prints in the digital medium and traditional etchings at londonprintstudio to exhibit in Lahore this year.’
Born 1971 in Karachi Pakistan. Alam attained a BFA at the Indus School of Art and Architecture in Karachi Pakistan in 1996. She immigrated to England in 1998 where she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art UCL and completed her Masters of Media in Fine Art in 2000. Alam currently lives and works in London.