Lahore-born London-based artist Faiza Butt recently opened her exhibition of new paintings and ceramics entitled Brave New World at the Grosvenor Gallery in Mayfair, London. She is immensely talented and her works show ingenuity, with top collectors in the art world known to follow her work closely. Her pieces are created by images from current media and advertising, with an aim to capture and connect with a larger audience rather than conforming to the snobbery that is sometimes associated with the art world. She strives to bring forth to our attention issues faced by young Pakistanis – whether social, political or gender-based issues.
Several of her new works on display showed “savage” and haunting faces of children from conflict zones, against a background of say a household product which portrayed “civilised” living, which these children have yet or never will have any idea of. As she explained to me on the sidelines of her exhibition, “Artists have a purpose in society. You do not make art to make anyone comfortable or to amuse people. Art is a language, a code through which you hope to make a difference.”
When I asked what influenced her to venture into ceramic art, she elaborated, “I tend to draw from traditions that are deemed as ‘crafts’ and bring them into the domain of fine art. Ceramics have always hovered between the boundary of art and craft. The contemporary developments in ceramic materials make it just as versatile a medium to paint and sculpt with as traditional materials. The warmth of a ceramic piece always draws a wide range of audience and serves as a great connection between the artist and viewer.”
Earlier, I had also seen Faiza design one-off denim jackets at the gallery. This woman is multi-talented to say the least!
(Grosvenor Gallery, 35 Bury Street, London W1; On till October 27)
By Diane Bilimoria, London