With Mirjana Power, Nadja Baldini, Jeltje Gordon-Lennox, Dimitrina Sevova and Julius John Alam.
I am a Lahore based artist. I received a Bachelors of Fine Art degree from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2013 and a Masters of Fine Art degree from Parsons the New School for Design in 2016, where I studied on a Fulbright Scholarship. I have exhibited at Participant Inc, New York, 1×1 Gallery, Dubai, 12 Gates, Philadelphia, Gallery of Light, DUCTAC, Dubai, Canvas Gallery, Karachi, Koel Gallery, Karachi, Sanat Initiative, Karachi, Taseer Art Gallery, Lahore, and Rohtas II, Lahore. I currently teach at the National College of Arts, Lahore and also contribute to various art publications.
In 2016, I engaged some young people to help me make work for a new exhibition. I felt that the safe social space that formed during that time was transformative and healing for everyone. This experience shifted my work from an object based practice to a participatory approach. So, in my next art project I tried to recreate that safe social space. But I found galleries to be stressful spaces that put pressure on people to behave in a certain way. So I grew dissatisfied with the gallery system.
When I arrived in Zurich in 2017 for a residency, I thought it would be better that, instead of working from this problematic position, I use the opportunity to find a solution. I conceived Zurich Konversationen as a collection of conversations with people who employ the arts as a tool in their own practices in an attempt to make the world a better place. Through these conversations I am trying to better understand the role of art and artists in life and how the approaches discussed in the conversations can help me in my own practice.
As I am nearing the end of the project it is becoming clear to me that I cannot call myself an artist anymore, nor can I make and exhibit art in galleries. So I have decided to call myself a facilitator and to independently hold one-on-one and group sessions to facilitate self-healing through the arts. Having been through my own self-healing process and continuously working on my own awareness I understand the challenges that arise through such a process. As a facilitator I have two main roles: to ensure that a safe social space is created for the participant(s); and, to hold the psychological space for inner healing to take place.
The series of conversations I had with people concerning the same are archived as audio recordings. These can be accessed online at the website (www.zurichkonversationen.com) that I made exclusively for the project. Dimitrina Sevova has kindly invited me use Corner College's space to present my final project. It will be structured like a panel discussion. She will mediate and there will be 2 or 3 other people on the panel. It will be a group discussion about the same questions that I have posed during the project and also a reflection on the project itself. It will be held on 16 December at 4:30PM.
Julius John Alam's residency and Zurich Konversationen are kindly supported by IG Rote Fabrik and Pro Helvetia - Swiss Arts Council.