Ramla Fatima, Pakistan

Residency Period: August 1, 2016 - July 31, 2017 (extended from January 31)


Bio

Ramla Fatima graduated from N.C.A national college of arts in February 2015 with major in sculpture and minor in print making and digital arts. She has participated in a few group shows around the country. She has also been selected for two artist residencies: ”B.Q (binqalandar artist residency) and VASAL international artist residency, Karachi. She currently lives and practices in Pakistan.

Facebook


On-hiatus Proposal Summary

As a fresh graduate with just two years of practice, Ramla’s art career may appear to be on the right track – graduated from the National College of Arts, participated in an exhibition, left for an artist residency, came back and exhibited in a number of group shows, again left for a residency – the path desired and considered as successful by many of her fellow graduates.

She is however not satisfied with all this, feeling confused and having difficulty understanding the professional art circle. She does not want her artistic career to run on the usual trajectory of group shows, solo shows, residencies, and biennales etc. She wants to take a path which no one has ever followed. When she came back from her last residency, she started looking for another which would give her a new dimension and fresh perspective to her art career, but to her disappointment, all the residencies are running very similar programmes. Then she found RFAOH, which she thinks is the exact thing she was looking for and simply wanted to be part of it.

For her on-hiatus residency at RFAOH, she does not want to propose anything. She wants to sit back and think of “tasks” that are not related to her work as a sculptor; she might write a book on the issue of “the art circle in an artist’s life”. She wants to give her career a new start. She wants to begin this residency with her mind as a blank canvas.


Final Report

Even before my hiatus period during my BFA I use to think why do artists reject the art world and say goodbye to all that? I had heard about various artists who have withdrawn from the art world or adopted an antagonistic position towards its mechanisms. I was very eager to know about the problematic relationship of artists to the art world. Now when I myself have been through all this initially i have played with the system, struggled against it and then finally have walked away altogether. Three years later, through no effort of my own, I was invited to exhibit in a number of group shows at quite popular art galleries. A few months later, a well-established gallery offered me a solo show. Miraculously, I found myself back in business. I went back into my studio. My new body of work garnered some positive reviews and a few sales. Then, work got difficult. Instead of providing an incentive recognition paralyzed me. I felt a sense of social responsibility and competition that I hadn’t when I was just making art for myself. Then, a year after that show, I was considering quitting art.

My journey toward hiatus began as soon as my career had started taking off. I decided to stop making art and walked away in dissatisfaction. I was successful enough and was receiving enough recognition of my work but surprisingly was not contented enough. I was so confused and was blindly following the usual pattern of a successful career as always told by our teachers throughout our four years of academic career i.e. 

 Pass with distinction
 Exhibit all over the country
 Be a part of national and international residencies
 Solo show

Wow, sounds great till you haven’t achieved all this. But what’s next. After going through all these stages the most difficult part is continuing as an artist. And I was unable to continue art. I always needed a stimulus in a form of a deadline of exhibition, in the form of being selected for a residency or I did art to just compete with my fellow graduates. Inside me it was all empty. It was so depressing when I realized that perhaps I am not an artist. I started having difficulty speaking to people about my work and was so tortured by the feeling that my work is inadequate. I was unable to be a part of this rat race any more. I had started avoiding exhibitions and sales. Perhaps the biggest reason for not being able to continue art was that I can not mess with art. For me it is something very personal, pure and full of feelings. I was unable to use it as business. I can’t sell art. I can’t make art for galleries. I can’t do commissioned works. I seem to be an insult to art in my view point. For me a piece of art is so damn personal that I wanted to keep it to myself. I don’t want to discuss with other people to judge it whether it is resolved or not. I don’t want to exhibit in the gallery to be liked or disliked by the visitors. I don’t want art critiques to pass judgments on my work. It is something what I feel. For me art is the tangible form of my feelings. And at times it could be just intangible like a sound piece. In art we are taught not to exhibit first-hand information. You have to incorporate your creativity in it. But I don’t think so. I would love to pick up random objects from the street. The abandoned objects like a worn out pair of shoes and for me it is a complete piece of art. It is beautiful enough to be exhibited in the gallery. It is resolved enough to be accepted as an art piece. It is fair enough to be the portal of my feelings or the portrayal of the feelings of the person who had probably thrown it out in the street. I can relate to it so much. I don’t know why nobody else can relate to it. And I think it’s completely fine if other people cannot relate to it. Is it a mathematical formula or a rule of gravity that has to be universal? I don’t want to paint that pair of shoes just to make it beautiful enough to be exhibited in the gallery. I don’t want to incorporate two three more objects with it just to make it a so called resolved art piece.

So I took a break and have realized that I don’t mind doing a job which does not involve art to earn money. But I can’t sell art for my survival. Even if I want to sell my pair of shoes as an art piece who is going to buy it? Who is going to exhibit it in his gallery? So, I have started working in an event management office where I had to work on thousands of things but not art. Thank god I was so happy. I was so glad. But now I think I need a break from this as well. It’s a human nature your mind at times needs rest. This is something that I have now realized that it is something very natural and you don’t have to worry about it. And I am taking it very easy. But I was quite sensitive for the break from art. I was like I am not an artist I was led by a mistaken ambition.

My experience of RFAOH was great. I highly recommend and support this initiative because there are thousands of opportunities and platforms for practicing artists but there are hardly a few or may be it is the only platform for the artists who are on hiatus for some reason. Art is a fantasy while real life is a bit different from this fantasy world. While being on RFAOH it allows one to continue with his/her practical life and at the same time you can go back to your fantasy world without any pressure of making art or competing with the art world. Unlike the other residencies where you have to just quit your normal daily life routine and go and live in a strange environment with a number of other strangers with a hell of pressure of making art. Though it is thought that artist residencies provide a break from art to the artists but unfortunately it is not true in most cases. I have written a number of proposals to a number of well-known artist residencies in which I have mentioned that I do not want to come up with a preconceived idea or a project. I want to come and explore and then ill sort out what to make. Or maybe I just want to come to refresh my mind and might come up with not even a single art piece at the end of the day or maybe I only want to do research.

I am currently leaving for Iran to visit Religious Sites. I hope I'll come up with better plans of not making art.


archives

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
       
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 
       
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 
       
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728    
       
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    
       
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930   
       
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 
       
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       

 

recent comments

On Aug 4 2017, ramla fatima commented on Let your creative nature shine through: @ co-directors lol no, you does not sounds like a horoscope person infact you sounds exactly like w[...]

On Aug 4 2017, ramla fatima commented on Let your creative nature shine through: thank you so much mohamed for sharing your views. it means a lot. it always feels great to get to kn[...]

On Jul 29 2017, mohamed @ moonfarm commented on Let your creative nature shine through: selaams Ramla (the universe in a grain of sand?), As this year's hiatus is sadly coming to a close,[...]

On Jul 25 2017, co-directors (s) commented on Let your creative nature shine through: Ramla, I also feel being in the arts is being forever confused, about your decisions and desires, ab[...]

On Jun 22 2017, co-director (m) commented on On Hiathus: The best part of hiatus is that its an open ended concept. Its like a non-declaration declaration. I[...]


ON HIATUS ACTIVITY 2

The weather today is quite good surprisingly. An Unexpected little rain in hot summer with scorching heat of sun is a miracle. I was busy with the product photo-shoot of the clothing line with which I have been working for the last few days. And thank god it was not the kids shoot this time, thank god it were these nonliving products which could be placed and replaced a thousand times without any hassle like previously it was in the case of those kids. I have been making and decorating these products for the last few days. Ironically I don’t like kids but I have really enjoyed packing up things for the new born.







So, when we were done up with the shoot as soon as i stepped out of the work place I was shocked to see that it was raining. Rain in summer over here is like a blessing. And my mood swings are mostly driven by the weather. So while I was waiting for my boss to come so that we can proceed further with the office work. I kept looking at the sky full of clouds. Thank god she got late and I have got about an hour to just sit back, think about myself and relax. And this is usually the ideal time to just dig out something from myself and write a post for the residency. So I took five to ten minutes in search for finding something logical and useful to write or I don’t know what because each time I am just posting about random things happening in my life. I don’t know if people find it interesting? I so wanted to post something “productive” this time. I kept looking at different magazines, newspapers etc. But have ended up as usual with what I was feeling at that time, so I just have started jotting that down on a piece of paper from my desk.
I think whatever I post is something which I have actually experienced after being a part of this residency. I remember that in my residency proposal I had mentioned that I will probably end up with writing a book or something. I am not that intellectual enough to be able to write a book but I think i was not fond of writing at all but this residency post commitment have actually transformed all my feelings and experiences in written form that I would definitely love to compile them all in some form. Today I was reading all my previous posts and realized that all my initial posts were full of depression, disappointment and complains but gradually it all had disappeared for the last few months. Though I don’t want to talk about that some long sad art story but just to cut the long story short, art had actually made me a psychotic patient. I have suffered from great depression while resolving art. And now I realize that the moment I left it and have joined a residency which was for the artists on hiatus it had proved really well.
I feel depression when I do art and I also fell depress when I completely leave art because after a month or two I began to think I have ruined my career, I left the art world completely. I neither want to do art nor want to completely detach myself from it. So RFAOH was the exact thing that have rescued me because these two to three posts a month make me feel alive and enthusiastic. I still remember while I was writing proposal for this residency I was fearless I have written all crap all the aggression I had against the system of art practice I literally have mentioned everything and I was not even expecting a call from you guys. But I was shocked to see that I have got selected for this residency.
Thank god! I am so contented with all what I am doing and with all what I have, that I don’t even remember that last open calls for the residencies and biennale which were my dream two years back. I do not even remember that I have lost the last chance of Gassworks.
I will not say that what I am doing right now is not art, it is not difficult and it is not time consuming – yes it is it takes me almost three hours to pack and design a new born package but what it lacks is depression, competition and torture.

Leave a Comment (2)

ramla fatima wrote on Apr 13:

Thankslee.Good to hear that you can relate to it. i think we all have gone through almost the same thing probably and being an artist we have a certain kind of a connection because somehow we think and feel the same way.

Lee Churchill wrote on Apr 12:

This is fantastic to hear. This expresses exactly what I felt and am feeling.