Mapping Memory is an ongoing online collaborative project by Shaheen Ahmed, Saba Khan and Taran Singh. It traces the nomadic lives of earlier generations of artists within the spaces of Bangladesh, Britain and Pakistan, shaped by movements of ideas, friendships and conversations. The impact of these movements was tremendous, as many of these mobile subjects became leaders and visionaries. The artists we have chosen to map here played significant roles in building institutions, in mentoring successive generations, and also in cross-pollinating transnational modernism.
Mapping Memory II was created in response to the London, Asia, Art, Worlds programme, transforming cut paper folds into a digital collaboration that virtually moves and expands with a pulsating centre of activity. The starting point is a combination of three maps to create one 3D kirigami map artwork. With an old engraved map of England and Wales as the focal map, fragments of Pakistan and Bangladesh merge through and lay on top of it. Above the crafted mapwork, a virtual archive of journeys are traced from artists, to institutions, to cities. Mapping Memory II allows participants to scroll across and explore archived movements. Viewers can zoom in and see connections and links between spaces, timeframes and people.
In recent years, artists have faced challenges with regards to travel and escalating higher education fees. The pandemic has, perhaps, triggered and opened new forms of online communication and reinvented methodologies for collaboration between artists, ideas and art forms.
For more information about the Mapping Memory project: https://www.mappingmemory.uk/
Taran Singh is an expert in 3D technologies with fifteen years experience in developing cutting edge immersive applications for a range of sectors using game engines. Taran is a keen advocate of making immersive tech accessible for all and supports this by partnering with a range of inspiring organisations and artists to encourage and nurture the next generation of creative tech talent into the industry. Taran is also a talented and experienced digital sculptor, and has a special interest in 3D printing and the human form.
A pivotal point in Ahmed's practise arose at Burnley art college when she was told there wasn't enough information on Islamic art within their library. This led Shaheen to question what does her parent's faith have to say and what is Islamic art? Shaheen's artwork empowers and liberates those within a world that often feels hostile towards her and her artwork. Her art is driven by empathy, reworking maps to share narratives of statelessness, crippling infrastructure and disparagement. Ahmed has led on several residencies, studied in Italy and worked in Pakistan.
Shaheen connects with the earth on a spiritual level, stressing that primordial earth belongs to the destitute whether they are humans or animals. With the earth's ruptures, shifting techtonic plates and the movement of vast communities across the globe, she contemplates a more meditative approach within her own life. Greed and the consumption of and the glorifying of excess wealth and noteriety, is a sickness that seems to be destroying human harmony.
Ahmed is part of a collective of craftivists responding to the UK government's HS2 railway bulldozing through ancient woodlands and habitat's. Her latest commission will be an installation for the Crafts Council UK – Tackling Racism through Craft.
Saba Khan is a visual artist who lives and works in Lahore. Her work varies from painting, sculpture, photography to installation, to curating exhibitions and artists’ residencies. Khan's recent works are expeditions performed by an all-female artists’ group, Pak Khawateen Painting Club (Pure/Pakistani Women's Painting Club), that studies ecology, impact of development and the role of the female gender in spaces of power. The collective visits monumental and ambitious sites, such as dams and barrages, that have transnational effects on the environment. She also founded Murree Museum Artist Residency, an artist-led initiative in 2014 which has published artists’ books. Khan teaches at the National College of Arts, Lahore.