Arsalan Nasir obtained his Master’s Degree in Art & Design Studies, from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, in 2017 where he received the UMMESA South Asia Scholarship Award. He received his BFA (with Distinction) from the University of Karachi in 2013. He has exhibited his work in several group exhibitions in Pakistan, the most recent of which was at the Dutch Embassy in Islamabad. He has also participated in several artist residencies, including: the first Sanat Residency, Karachi; and the Social Sculpture Residency at Vasl, Karachi, in collaboration with Heinrich Boll Stiftung. He is currently working as a Scale Model Artist at KSEW Pakistan Navy. A multi-disciplinary artist, Nasir’s technical practice spans drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation and new media, and his energetic drive to explore new mediums has resulted in his development of interactive technologies within his artwork. The basis of his artistic practice is an exploration of memory, and relaying of memories through everyday stories. He is especially interested in the concept of collective recollections, and the role of imagination in the formation of the personal narratives that constitute our memories, which are subsequently passed down as edifying experiences.
Nasir’s sound installation for the Karachi Biennale 2017, Absent/Present, comprising of a circle of schoolchildren’s backpacks, is an investigation into the way in which we embed memories in an existing space. The project explores the nostalgia elicited by re-encountering objects and spaces of prior significance, which in turn triggers memories, personal narratives and specific experiences, creating an internal dialogue between recollection and the actuality of the past. Thus, the school bags, emitting sounds when the motion sensors within are triggered, provide a visual and sonic representation of the capacity of a space or an object provoke a collective recollection, mediating a dialogue between the past, individual narratives, shared experiences and the subjectivity of memories.