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  • Jan 3rd, 2015
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A collection of contemporary miniatures, digital prints and cyanotype photograms by Alia Bilgrami at Koel Gallery, Karachi reflects her conscience as well as divergent opinions and controversy arguments in an intricate and sophisticated manner. For the artist her solo exhibition titled "Out of the Forest" is an exploration of natural forms, textures and strengths."

She combines forms and merges ideas and materials to create the artworks. Her relevant use of various media in paintings, miniatures, collage, drawings, and even cyanotype photogram and different objects results in beautiful and delicate forms depicting diverse emotions and feelings. Through her work she seeks question "how nature strikes a balance in creating forms that are both delicate yet resilient." After acquiring her BFA degree from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi in 2007 she completed her MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London in 2010. She also received the Cecil Collins Memorial Award for drawing there, which is one of her achievements.

In her recent series she uses tulip as a symbol of femininity and beauty. Another symbol she uses is a pinecone which is hard with uneven surface and pointed cones but at the same time it resembles a flower. She is fascinated by these "wooden flowers" which are "surprisingly resilient and unrelenting."

"An underlying sense of displacement continues through the work as my previous trajectory of imagery seeps through in the shape of architectural spaces, maps and the tulip," she said. She discovers the strength of a woman through her artworks and wants others to sense this strength and shows them "a parallel between nature and the strength of a woman." Just like a flower a woman is soft and beautiful from outside but from inside there is a quiet strength that comes into forefront when needed.

Drawing attention towards sensitive issues her artworks promote and provoke the inner sense and curiosity about the women part in society especially the historical women figures who are living in shadows. The compositions build comparison and "speaks of elements from nature that manifest themselves into human personalities." Thus the inspiration behind her works lie with the strength of nature and the power of a woman.

She has done an extensive research on woman of South Asian and their important role in the history. She is very much inspired by women who played considerable role in making history and yet unknown by the world, unknown in a sense that a few recognize their abilities and achievements and we must preserve these unforgettable women of past for our future generations.

According to the artists "Out of the Forest implies that the worst is over." In one of her miniature paintings titled "Emulating Rani Lakhshmibai" about the Rani Lakhshmibai of Jhansi who bravely fought against the British in 1857 in the War of Independence. She also want to paint other iconic women figures and pay tribute to them through her work such as Begum HazratMahal, Zebunnisa, the poetess (daughter of the Emperor Aurangzeb) or Gul Badan Begum, the authoress of the Humayunnama (Emperor Humayun's half-sister) from Mughal times. "Unfortunately so many women who contributed to the history, culture and literature of those times remain hidden. Such important figures deserve to be celebrated."

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