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Jamil Baloch

Jamil Ahmed Baloch is a multi disciplinary artist he graduated from the National college of Arts, Lahore where he is currently a member of the teaching faculty. Jamil as a sculptor loves to work on a large scale, his works signify different behaviors of a society, he belongs from a rich cultural heritage and incorporates the traditional models with modernity in his art. Most of his earlier works interpret violence and cruelty of power and continuous attempt for survival by mankind.


He has been artist in resident Vermont Studio Center, USA. He has also been awarded the M.A.  Rangoonwala Award in 2005,in Karachi and the Prize of National Excellence Award - Visual Arts, 8th National Exhibition, Lahore and Honorable Prize International Art Biennale in 2008, Bangladesh.

 

 

“As far back as I can remember I was always making things, creating junk sculpture before I even knew what it was. Every surface that I came across had to be drawn upon, and I would utilize any material available, metal wood, or cloth. I used to make planes, cars all sorts of things without any guidance; it was a natural expression for me, like breathing.”

 

His rugged background in Balochistan nurtured the creativity and skills seen in the work of Jamil Ahmed Baloch. Born in Nushki, where his family is deeply rooted, he grew up with the awareness of natural elements and their uses, men building their homes from hewn trees, metals welded for practical purposes, and the women who spent their days weaving and embroidering, others collecting water. These impressions honed and integral respect for the medium he uses in his work, whether sculpture or painting, a principle he endeavors to instill in his students.

 

As a sculptor he enjoys working on a large scale and one invariably finds Jamil’s work standing aloft as if in welcome at the national ground shows seen at Alhamra, Lahore. Working on this scale has its problems he explains, as transportation and setting of the pieces is a challenge, but after all, he concludes, it’s all part of the problem of being an artist. At a recent Residency in Sri Lanka, Jamil completed a large wood carving which he perforce left behind, and showed a film he had made titled, “An Artist’s life”. In the evenings he played the music of his region to other artists attending from foreign countries, as well showing them work on slides. In return he learnt of their art and their countries. It was an interesting experience for an artist keen to learn more of the world outside.

 

Watching his progression has been interesting, his latest work has moved far from the playful ‘Burqa’ series of earlier years. My environment was a source of influence, as is natural with all of us. Whenever I traveled in Balochistan I was aware of the body language people unconsciously use which says a lot. The Burqa series is part of that experience. At a recent exhibition, his award winning fibre glass piece, a Burqa clad figure clasping a bunch or red roses was titled: “Valentine’s Day”. In this work the sculptor tried to show that all human beings, regardless of outer appearances, share similar emotions.

 

In his latest work the artist he reveals a mood of concern for world issues translated through familiar figures. It has been said the universe is contained in a grain of sand, and in a similar philosophy, Jamil has shown the Balochi people and their suffering representing the whole of mankind. Observing the work in process, first one was confronted by a tall carved form, identified by the suggestion of an enveloping Balochi turban. The protruding rib cage standing out from a carved concave area, led ones eyes to the base of the sculpture, a minimalist suggestion of feet that stand as a strong base. This form is representative of hunger in the world adapted to a situation the artist feels deeply. A series of woodcarvings echo the mood of the ‘Fasting Baloch’, representative of all the hungry people in the world.

 

He is an artist who loves the physicality of his work, keeping fit through sport. “I have heard artists refer to realistic work as ‘labor’ but nothing worthwhile is achieved without hard work. Progress comes from practice not from words and theories.”

 

For Jamil, every stage of his work is a source of enjoyment. He relishes working on a large scale accepting the challenge of his material. In the initial stages it often appears that he is intent on mastering the medium, struggling to release the form held captive within. The theme he illustrates is supported by a series of wall-based paintings, heavy, metal studded frames containing images and settings that, though often minimal in their representation, are heavily textured with spontaneous line and marks, the frustrated energy of an artist helpless in the face of universal ills.

 

Marjorie Husain