Saturday, February 21, 2009

The colors of power, purity, metamorphosis and much more … from Pakistan

My third year design students in Lahore, Pakistan (Beaconhouse National University) completed their color symbolism project. The results reflected many “universal’ meanings of colors and several very personal and regional interpretations.

You can see some of the most interesting results at a separate web page:

Project Details
This color symbolism assignment required that each student choose a favorite color and address what the color meant to him or her. Next, they had to create a costume or headpiece that reflected the symbolism as a metaphor. Finally they had to perform a mine in the costume – individually and as part of their group.

I stressed the concept of metaphor. In other words, create a piece that is not the literal interpretation of color. Get rid of yellow suns and lollipops and create something abstract for a color such as yellow. They did!

(Note: I am serving as visiting professor for and am conducting color workshops for five weeks at this university in Pakistan. Special appreciation to their teacher Umar Hameed and T.A. Mohsin Shafi.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Color Symbolism Project in Lahore, Pakistan

My third year students are working on a project that focuses on color symbolism. Each student chose a color and had to define what the color meant to him or her. (In other words, the personal meaning of the color.) Here are the results.

My name is Zarrar Khan
My color is white
For me white is purity

My name is Alwina.
My color is yellow.
For me yellow means happiness.

My name is Amna.
My color is black.
For me black is isolation/ calmness.

My name is Maria.
My color is blue.
For me blue means misery.

My name is Ubab Mamina
My color is Pink
To me pink is the perfect color to represent my personality, as baby pink shows flirtatious, innocence, shyness, and cuteness while hot pink shows strong emotions and boldness. These shades don’t show controversy but they do show hidden aspects of it.

My Name is Zarghuna Khayyam
My Color is Maroon
Maroon is a mixture of purple and dark red it means sensuality, attraction, mystery, power, desire, possessiveness and protection.

My name is Anum Shaukat.
My colour is red.
Red is a very bold colour for me, it gives me confidence strength and power.

My name is Waqas khanMy color is SilverSilver for me is something that shines a lot and something that shines for me is happiness.

The next phase of the project is to use the color in a wearable art form (a full covering or partial, such as a hat.) The final presentation will be a “mime” performance.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

We All Have Five Fingers

I arrived in Lahore, Pakistan Saturday after 3 days of travel, almost half way around the world. As I progressed westward across the Pacific, the time zones and the visual landscape changed dramatically. As the plane touched down at Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore, the first thing I saw was the air terminal – an earthy red brick building – in a style that reflects the Mughal history of the city. After spending so much time in the achromatic metallic and glass environments of Tokyo and Bangkok’s airports, this building welcomed me with a sense of humanity. Natural materials, color, and an architectural style that reflects the cultural history.

So what do I see? The trees are green and the sky is blue. People dressed in the traditional garb of long tunics over pants (shalwar kameez) line the streets. If it weren’t for the cars, this is a rare timeless place that looks as if it could be hundreds of years ago.

A few days ago, I had a unique color experience. The setting sun was a bright carrot red. It was especially remarkable since you could look directly at it, which I suppose was due to the filtering effect of the dust particles in the air.

Some background now: I am here to teach color at Beaconhouse National University for the next four weeks. My first contact with the students was Monday at a bonfire in honor of the 15th Century poet Kabir, whose Sufism represented a fusion of principles from both the Islamic and Hindu tradition.

On Tuesday I reviewed an exhibit of student artwork. I regret that my wonderful camera chose this time to break down …(the dreaded Canon lens error) but I did manage to take a few pictures of this exhibit. This is my first teaching experience outside the western world and I can only say that students everywhere are concerned with the same issues. The underlying themes are ecological issues and concerns for humanity. One student created a life-size beggar puppet, suspended by black-gloved arms – a symbol of the Mafia controlled beggardom here in Lahore. I am learning so much about Pakistan. “We all have five fingers,” so spoke Umar, my driver. Yes.

I will buy a new camera tomorrow!

Typo/correction of a link in the previous post.”Alif Laila.” is the correct name of the book bus.