‘…At the National College of Arts (NCA), we imagine a world. Not one world, but many. One for each of us, one from each of us, with these we write the autobiographies of our times, in objects, in lines, in mortar, and in perishable clay. In tracing ourselves, we leave traces. These are the traces that make our cities. Turn us inside out like pillowcases with that remembered smell, like shed skins. These are the traces that populate our nights, and from these traces we dare to dream again…’ – Excerpts from NCA teacher-students conversations
The National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan is a global centre for creativity, talent and artistic tradition. Originally founded as The Mayo School of Art in 1875, and rebranded the NCA in 1958, debate and discourse are encouraged amongst the students and faculty here, and this leads to a culture of understanding, individuality and tolerance. The art that comes out of this incredible place is some of the best in the world, the training exceptional and the diversity of the students in background, identity, ideology and language a major strength.
Teachers at the NCA nurture and push their students so that each one rightfully values his and her creative ideas and pushes their artistic practice to reach its height.
All this happens in a country who’s value is often overlooked by the international community; a country who’s goodness is glossed over for its’ bureaucratic corruption and troubled political history. It is easy to forget, if your only connection to Pakistan is watching the news, that this country, one of the cradles of civilisation, actually has an astonishing cultural and artistic history practically unmatched in the world. The NCA connects all their students with this rich history, as we hope the following interviews will connect our readers with it as well.
We are honoured to have had the chance to speak with three outstanding female NCA alumna, Class of 2016, Amani Iqbal, Sameen Agha and Komal Tufail, about their time at this esteemed institution, their artistic practice and their future goals within the art world. Suffice to say, these are powerhouse women and we can’t wait to see what incredible strides they take!
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