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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistani Printmaker Granada’

Text and photos by Mike Booth

An Interview with Pakistani Artist/Educator, Iram Wani

Iram teaches printmaking at the National College of Arts in Rawalpindi, an hour’s drive from her home in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Last spring the school administrators, conscious of the health hazards and other inconveniences of working with nitric acid, commissioned Iram to search for a professional printmaking studio that used non-toxic techniques, to go there for a month and bring back, first hand, the secrets of not-toxic printmaking. Iram knew where to go.

Eight years ago, in the fall of 2013, she had spent two weeks working with Maureen in her studio in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, outside Granada. Iram, asked how she happened to choose such a far-off place–there are a lot of printmaking workshops between Islamabad and Granada–replied: “I had heard about an English printmaker who did workshops in Spain, so I googled “printmaking courses Spain.” The first half dozen references were to “Maureen Booth, Pomegranate Editions, Granada.” (I later learned that “pomegranate” is “granada” in Spanish, so the city and its province are named after a local fruit.) After following the website for a few months I was impressed by the artists–from all over the world–who worked with Maureen. Also, Maureen spoke English. I had no knowledge of Spanish, but I did have a visa for Spain. That’s how I got here the first time.

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Iram’s work in Maureen’s studio was productive from day one.

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The following is just some of the work Iram produced when she was here.

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This interview took place on October 27, less than a week before Iram was to catch the plane home from the Málaga airport.

Q: What were you hoping to accomplish on this second visit, Iram?
A: I hoped to gain an intimate hands-on knowledge of the non-toxic procedures that Maureen uses in her work, both solarplate and liquid metal techniques.

Q: Did you manage during your stay to achieve any part of this very big assignment?
A: I think I have achieved far more. There’s so much to learn from Maureen. She’s a true “maestra” as they say in Spanish. I’m already thinking of coming back. Besides getting a grip on not-toxic techniques I wanted to experience the procedures and workflow of a well-run studio. I was impressed by Maureen’s insistence on an impeccably clean and well-ordered workspace. You can’t achieve perfect prints without those two factors. I also hoped to create a portfolio of creative non-toxic prints, something I could present to the administrators of the Institute as an example of what can be achieved without acid. And, if the work were to come out exceptional, I will also be exhibiting it. That will be an excellent way of fulfilling my ultimate goal: to introduce non-toxic printmaking in Pakistan.

Q: Were there things that surprised you on your second visit?
A: I think the main thing was just how much there is to learn. Maureen comes up with new secrets every day. I could have learned much more if I had had more time.

Q: You didn’t do any “tourist visits” to the city of Granada, and it’s only eight kilometers down the road. Do you miss that?
A: No, I don’t. Maybe next time…

Q: What do you consider your principal achievement in this month-long workshop.
A: I guess I could sum it up by saying, “truly living the life of an artist for one intense month.”

Q: Can you take that living-the-life-of-the-artist home with you?
A: I can try.

Q: Do you expect your work, and perhaps your life, to change when you get home?
A: It’s changed already. I’ve learned from the master how things should be done.

Q: Did Maureen’s Gallinero artist’s cabin with its big workspace, solitude and tranquility, contribute to your experience?
A: Yes, I was perfectly relaxed. It’s peaceful, truly an artist’s place. I can’t remember sleeping so deeply. Also, I have bad headaches at home. I don’t get them here at all.

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Maureen’s assistant, María José, came in a couple of days to help Iran and Maureen print up the plates Iram made during her stay. Diva only weighs 2.1 kilos (4.6 pounds) but she is always in the studio, supervising everything.

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You can see more of Iram’s visit to Granada on her Facebook page, with her own photographs, videos and commentary.

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