Farina Alam is a British-Pakistani artist, born 1971 in Karachi Pakistan, currently based in London. She studied at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in Karachi and earned a postgraduate degree at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL London. Farina Alam’s style is recognizable through her ink and nib drawings.
The Contemporary history of Pakistan at the core of her work
Alam’s earliest memories of riots in Karachi laid the foundations for her drawings. In 1970’s the recently created nation of Pakistan was at a crossroads of active resistance to Western culture through an Islamic identity. Imposition of women’s head dress; sanctions on artistic freedom; proliferation of religious schools (madrassas); the emerging black market on foreign books, films, and prohibition on night clubs and alcohol, cast Karachi in a different light from her parents’ youth. The clash of cultures set the stage for her art.
Alam is both inspired by the bold graphic mark making in South Asian tribal art and the intricacy of miniature painting tradition. In past drawing series, she used colour as a decorative and symbolic device to associate with gender and religious identity. From a South Asian cultural perspective, colour is ever present to mark seasons; celebrations as well as communities and is a visual device that she uses in her work.
Nationally Recognised Artist
Farina Alam has established her presence in the UK through her extensive participation in exhibitions such as The Jerwood Drawing Prize, Christie’s fine art print fair “Multiplied,” Asia House London, London Print Studio and the John Martin Gallery London. Already exhibiting in her home country of Pakistan, she has taken the next step to reach international status.