Final Project Statement:
Spending several months in a place creates a lot of moments to remember always, which become part of our memory, especially the happy and unique moments. This project is based upon my memories of the Siena Art Institute and Siena, describing my connection as a student with the spaces and the memorable moments I have experienced here. My drawings focus on elements which remind me of the places, classes, teachers and fellows which I’ve been in contact with here, and symbolic elements which may have different meanings for others but for me they symbolize the happy and unique moments I have passed here. With the multiple images and overlapping layers, I have tried to show my feeling about my memory. I am interested in how my point of view has changes: in the beginning when I came to Siena I missed my home institute, the National College of Arts in Lahore, but now I feel I will miss the Siena Art Institute when I depart.
Final Reading Response: The Blue of Distance by Rebecca Solnit
The article “The Blue of Distance” reminded me of the time when I was learning oil painting and doing some landscape paintings. I was using blue colors always to create depth and perspective in my works after reading in a book that blue is a cool color and used for perspective to show distance. After studying the works of some American contemporary artists like Charles Reid, Bill Anton and Matt Smith my works became bluer and for a time blue became my favorite color. Since it was my favorite, blue no more remained only for the perspective in my works, or only in landscape paintings even. In all parts of my works I used touches of blue color no matter whether it was a landscape or portrait. Blue was the color with which I felt my paintings became complete, especially doing outdoor painting in the garden of “Kirani” in my home town and I enjoyed to see the blue sky, blue mountain, blue wall and trees which seemed so far from me especially in the morning. The blue color did not just convey the concept of distance but also the idea of a clean atmosphere. After learning about many other artists and working from observation in different times and environments, many blue tints were replaced by grays in my works.
So blue is the color of sky for me which is very high but beautiful. We can try to get closer to see the color by flying but it is not reachable. Blue is the color of distance, which is so far but is impossible to reach and becomes part of that; it is the color of perspective and depth to show that there is not just a single thing or place even there are many other things behind the place where we are or in the distance behind that place. Blue is the color of the atmosphere of morning, which conveys the beginning of a day to strive for an achievement. Blue is the color of shadows, to have a peaceful rest in a moment when you feel so emotional with the warmth of red. Blue is the color of a destination which can only be reached by a struggle. This is what I believe that to reach the blue of the distance is not impossible if that is not so high like the sky above our heads, but after reaching that distance it will no more be the same blue even though it appears in other place which remain in the distance: this is desire, how the wishes of human beings never end.
Siena is a beautiful and historical place, which has many historical architectural buildings and artworks but the thing which inspired me to work for my midterm Project of “Art and Society “ is the peaceful environment of Piazza Dell Campo , where many people including tourists gather, sitting and simply enjoy the moment of being in the space. This is the first thing that I felt about the square of the Campo because from many years people specifically from my community in Pakistan don’t gather much in public spaces because of terrorist threats in my home city, which creates a fear amongst them.I divided my work in two pieces of paper in the size of “28×40 cm” each. One expressed my feelings about the Campo, created with the traditional technique of Pakistani miniature painting using “gouache on wasli.” The second work expresses the feelings of other people (strangers who were sitting there and two of my class fellows) about the place of the Campo. My feeling is the composition of my presence as a foreigner represented by my backpack and lots of figures sitting, standing and laying down. In the second work I drew an outline of frame to specify the place, my bag in the corner then went to the place to ask strangers to draw or write their feelings about the same place. The people I spoke with were from different nationalities and cities as well as local people of Siena. They wrote their feelings about the same place in their languages. So my concept with the second piece was to make the differences between my feelings and those of other people. I found other peoples’ responses so different from my own, because no one specifically mentioned the concept of peacefulness for that place, which for me what the Campo very much embodies, in comparison to my home city.
“Unstable Territories” Reading response:
Boundaries and borders are the lines to specify identities of “we, you and they’’. These terms are not bad, if used in a positive way to identify differences in socio-economic status, culture, art and so on. In this way these terms help us to know the value and struggle of each culture and their people and compare ourselves with others. Making distinctions of “we, you and they’’ all can be in a positive way when there is acceptance and respect across territories and borders.
But the article “Shifting Our Ground” is very concerned with our condition of shifting: in which condition we shift, as writer James Bradburne mentioned “willingly or unwillingly” and the condition of our territories, that from the territories to which we belong. It mostly happens that people from a less developed territory are seen as stereotypes and the people from a more developed territory are considered always “civilized,” but for me this is very subjective rather than reality because all the people of one place can’t be equal or same. This is also something which can have both a positive and negative meaning. A person who has unwillingly “shifted ground” from their native territory may find it easier to slow down and except their new territory, because there is no other option or choice to go back. On the other hand, a person who has willingly “shifted ground” may find it difficult to accept a new territory and replace their boundaries, culture, language and to leave behind so many memories and people who are parts of their memories. Moving to a new territory can be easier for children, who do not have so many memories of their native country and can learn another language and culture more easily because of being not so long with their own culture and language, thus they can be flexible to accept a new territory as their own.
Reading response “Shape of a Walk” by Rebecca Solnit
Many people walk in their fields of expertise especially in art, but the most important thing in walking is that is it just a simple action but it can also have a shape. Walking can also be a metaphor for an artists’ career path: The artist who just simply walks is one who just follows a founder artist, who has shaped his or her own walk rather than following in the footsteps of others. For example, we can think of an artist like Edouard Manet in modern art history; while so many artists were painting in the established traditions, Manet shaped his walk differently. Although the jurors of the Salon rejected his works based on their concept and style (for example Olympia ,1865) which was a big challenge of both subject matter and technique which took audience violently rejected when it was hung in the salon. But Manet still preferred to follow his own path, for which he is not today as not just a “founder” but as the inspiration for many other founders who were encouraged to shape their own footsteps by the path taken by Manet, such as Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne and so many other “Post Impressionist “ artists like Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh, etc .
As Solnit pointed out, some artists’ walks have stopped or frozen (for example Gustave Caillebotte had a simple walk, following in others’ footsteps, in my opinion). If Jackson Pollock shaped his walk with a new gesture so many things had been done to challenge him for a new walk for which he struggled and succeeded. The important thing is that in walking “space, time and thought” should be considered the main and basic elements. In the same way that Modern Art emerged with the advent of photography and camera changing our perception of time and space, so it is important in which place and time the artist is going to walk which should be considered in its entirety.
Reading response for Jerry Saltz “ What Art is and What Artists Do”
For me Art has had different meanings, since I have begun studying it. When I started learning from the artist studios in my hometown, Quetta , art meant just “image making,” especially portraits. After studying for one year, I bought and read two books about the art of the “Hudson River School” and “Alfred Sisley,” which explored the meaning of nature so for while Art for me remained with the concept of nature, aesthetics and Art for Art’s sake. However, after enrolling in the National College of Arts in Lahore and taking History classes such as “Art History and Art Seminar,” this changed: Art started to become for me an image of my feeling about my thoughts, my expression and inner world for which I have come through a new struggle and learning process and the Siena Art Institute has provided me another opportunity and space toward this learning journey.
So from my own experience I agree with Jerry Saltz completely for his beautiful sentences that “Art does not have any less meaning and it is a way of knowing and medium of thinking,” and “it lets you see something and then it is what you see. It is a medium through which people see the world.” So an artwork really describes a message very beautifully and strongly which a thin book cannot. Just one powerful artwork can in a short time visually convey a concept which one book can’t achieve after many weeks or a month. The other thing is that art communicates or addresses in a very strong way, so this is something for which it can be said “It is a medium through which people see the world”. But it belongs to the creator of the artwork who is actually the artist for whose purpose artwork has been created. It is the artist who decides the purpose of that: whether an artwork should serve the purpose of education, aesthetics, creativity or other things.
“Tempo Zulu/ Coordinated Universal Time” Intro Unit Project:
Piazza del Campo a broad square ground amidst the historical buildings is one of my favorite places in Siena, not just for being historical or the place for the “Palio” Horse Race twice in a year, but also for being the place where always I have seen couples and people gather with their families, children and friends. They are sitting, some of them lay down and enjoy the place with a peaceful and lovely moment with a beautiful environment.
My proposal for the Tempo Zulu project in Piazza del Campo in front of the fountain is the concept of three figures on the black marble in a regular shape and size of the other marbles there, to celebrate these moments of the people, how people are coming in the other parts of the year (beyond the days of the famous Palio race) and how people enjoy from that place sunlight and the environment so that it becomes a part of history with the changing of time.
“Points of Entry” Intro Unit Project:
Interstitial space as a gap between two things, gives me the concept of the boundary line between different races, especially when it approaches in its extreme level, which creates a gap to connect people closely with each other. This is the thing which makes the distances among human beings and the concept of being human lose its value, people give the name of race, tribe and ethnicity to each other rather than living as human, then draw a line around themselves and live in it and specify themselves in “we”, “you” and “they” rather than “us” and “ours” which takes them in an extremism from where the concept of equality and human rights will be finished, hate ,violence and war start in a society rather than peace, love and respect .
Barriera di San Lorenzo as an Entry point
Barriera di San Lorenzo a broad hilly way with the big walls in Siena and with the entrance and exit points of buses and small vehicles were not so different for me when I visited and observed that. The things that attracted my eyes as being so different were the sculptures of the She-Wolf with the Suckling Twins on the walls in both sides of the way, that was so interesting for me that twin children are suckling the She-wolf, after coming back to my room with the many pictures of the gate and sculptures I read the history behind that which is the symbol of Rome and Siena: the She-wolf with the founders of the city and also found the same sculpture in many other places in the city. In my childhood always I heard that a wolf is a very dangerous animal and a sheep is an innocent animal, who does not harm anybody but this was the first time I read about a wolf, for her kindness. And from this symbol I found that how people link themselves with their history and historical leaders.
Syed Noroz Ali, Pakistan
My name is Syed Noroz Ali. I am from Quetta, Pakistan. I learnt basic drawing and oil painting from the studios of unknown artists of my hometown. After I felt that was not enough for me to be a professional artist, I have started BFA in National College of Arts Lahore in 2014. Now I am a fourth year student in the Miniature Painting Fine Arts Department. Most of my paintings are in oil and watercolor however my recent works are miniature paintings, gouache on wasli. I am interested in the practice of questioning the boundaries and distances among the human beings in the basis of color, language and tradition.
Siena Art Institute will be a good opportunity for me to develop my portfolio and learn more about art and Italian culture.
Previous artwork by Syed Noroz Ali: