“18 weeks' :-Adult in the context of Art and Design at UMISAA" By Koshal Hamal, UMISAA Alumni (2010-14)

News 24th November 2020

By Koshal Hamal

The fresh new course “Contemporary Materials & Technologies” launched by Jewellery & Accessory Department, BNU introduced a dynamic approach towards Jewellery as an interesting & challenging design field, and how it could be approached from Fine Arts, Graphics, Architecture and Textile contexts.

In today’s art and design context, the art world has been evolving in a very dynamic mode with the fresh understanding of technique and technology. With the passage of time, art is representing something evocative to society through translation of ideas, exploration of new materials and processes, which has resulted in smarter designs and making products and objects more useful to us, economically and aesthetically. When individuality grows with the passage of time, it brings something new, a new track of thinking.  And it becomes an “adult” for a new generation. That “adult” helps for an ‘unidentified stranger’- it feeds to modernity.  Modernity gives a sense of illusion and movement.  That Illusion and movement become a symbol of “light”. This is what objects and products today are doing to us- they are emotionally engaging with us; they are ‘waking’ us through their meaningful presence- one feel something more intangible or ephemeral to these objects, apart from touching and feeling it…

Created by Zile Batool UMISAA Scholars during the workshop
Created by MS Zile Batool, UMISAA Scholars during the workshop

The visual transformation has been flourishing like a flowing stream, so spontaneous, like a misty morning to evening. The definition of the art has been always dynamic in order to understand what current society wishes. This answer is about what is the value of being a significant artist in the society? Mona Lisa’s history to Marcel Duchamp’s attempt to today’s spectacle mass society, adds the sense of the metamorphosis which has risen with the five senses. Relationships between the “individual and society”, “culture and politics” and “experience and expression” that asserts us to think first what, why and how art merges with all these metaphors to create a new identity. The pre-history cave art into a today’s live on the movie screen and in one of the most vibrating Art Gallery today “Saatchi Art Gallery" has given the greatest example that how identity transformation heretically brings new notions in the presence and in the context of post-modernism. There is no doubt that new concept, new technologies, newer intelligent sense of ‘design’ are indispensible in making objects and products around us more valuable. We are no longer tyrannized by lame definitions of preciousness- diamonds, or gold! 

In January 2010, a fresh new course “Contemporary Materials and Technologies” was launched in Beaconhouse National University, from the forefront of Jewellery Department and in just under the span of 5 months, proved to be one of the most creative, impressive and intellectual subjects of the just ended semester (spring-2010). It’s surprising to hear that in only 18 weeks, how it brought a diverse chance in the student’s mind. Whether they were enrolled as art students or design, it was a great impulse in the students’ mind. Every student was able to explore something, understand about subject matters stretching from individuals’ psychology and exchange of thoughts and ideas, to even more socially imbued assignments about Village Identities, but most importantly, took up the daring challenge as designers and artists of the 21st Century- how they could merge jewellery to their respective fields- fine arts, textile, graphic and architecture. Furthermore, they were able to break away from the mainstream and make use of alternative, non precious materials and technology according to his/her concept.

Created by Mr Koshal Hamal, UMISAA Scholars during the workshop

The course was both theoretical and practical in a very scientific and systematic way. Structured, developed and touch by “Jewelry Department” under   Sahr Bashir (Associate Professor, Jewelry Department), 4 weeks were allocated for collaboration with respective departments:  Textile, Fine Art Department, Visual Communication Design and Architecture. The 18 weeks’ course was based on four different chapters.  a. Cocoon- Metamorphosis and Transformation b. Invisible Visible- questioning the ‘body’ as utility, both aesthetic-wise, as well as for more informative purposes in today’s word: questioning body surveillance, body implants, medical aids c. Identity d. Before and after- architecture and jewellery as documents of human lives. The entire subjects were very exciting and impressive; resulting in new departure form of exploration, using even light, motion, and sound in the form of installation.  And it clearly gave the indication that “Beaconhouse National University has crossed the boundaries of traditional art education and has risen with the new way of thinking in this competitive and dynamic world”, spoke Rohma Khan, who conducted a lecture in the 'Textile-Jewellery' chapter.

Mrs. Huma Mulji, currently teaching sculpture in BNU, gave a diverse example of how invisible thing can become visible. The understanding of  the function of the human/animal anatomy to Airport’s security system, gives the sense of indirect functional process which are visually invisible. What contradictory notions we were forced to pushed upon!

How can minute little things, like cocoon inspire us through their grand processes and transition of forms they offer? Questioning rebirth or questioning rebirth of continuously changing forms, patterns, contours… and the array of visual phenomenon and motion they generate?  How can art & design be used to promote, deliver and create a more meaningful message to the individual and society? Can design result in ‘better’ and ‘improved’ sense of identity? The remarkable experience of “Thatta Khedona”, Toy Village of Pakistan, located near Okara District, gave an extraordinary experience to all the students. They were producing handicrafts, ranging from dolls, toys; puppets inspired by folk Pakistani local “truck art” and had timelessness like those of ancient civilizations as in Harappa, “Mohenjo-Daro”. 

The last lecture of the Contemporary Material and Technology ended with the most thought provoking speech by Prof. Dr. Gulzar Haider, Dean, School of Architecture. His lecture on redefining and‘re-constructing’ found materials from environment, buildings explored a degree of sustainability- how we can utilize space, environment together with elements of light, sound, sight to give it life into the lifeless!  But the class was continuing until three weeks.  Students surveyed their BNU campus, outdoor environment, re-used construction materials, and gave a new sense of life around their spaces by presenting their works/ objects in the form of installations in various spaces across the campus. 

There was an invisible role of Miss. Amina Rizwan and Madiha Hassan; they were  highly determined for their  students; guided/instructed their students in a very impressive way inorder to produce more creative work.

Consequently, according to time and space, this course doesn’t equip students only with  the diverse academic knowledge but, most importantly, it gave students the chance to and wonderful sense of collaboration with different departments, peoples, exchanging ideas, sharing words and getting to know each other as art-conscious students. All the students had a great opportunity to understand the journey of individuality, society and modernity.  It was almost like extra-ordinary, unconventional international art workshop rather than conventionally restricted within the studio class lecture.


Bashir, S., Khan, R., Haider, G., Rizwan, A., Mulji,H. (2010, January). Contemporary Materials and Technologies, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.