"Maryam is a thinking artist, and through the medium of photography she creates and innovates intuitively, as she is guided by a sixth sense that she is blessed with. I find a sense of eternal spontaneity in her works and in her personality.Maryam Arif's work has impressed me for its sensitivity and interesting compositions. In particular, she has captured Architectural themes very effectively. Her command on Black & White imagery is very well expressed.I can see her grow further as a Photographer... being imaginative, sensitive and creative in spirit."
Nayyar Ali Dada
Born Nayyar Ali Zaidi, was named “Dada” in recognition of skills at drawing and painting. Pakistan’s most recognized and respected Architect, and winner of many awards, notably The Aga Khan Award, Dada is devoted to the education of young architects and is actively involved in Creative arts in Pakistan.
“Maryam Arif describes her approach to photography as ‘observational and non intrusive’. Likened to a contemporary flańuer in the city, she has a wonderful ability to capture reality’s blueprint without interfering with its DNA. A medical doctor by profession, Arif is known to handle a camera with as much consummate ease as any any lucid European or American photographer of the contemporary age; and tellingly Arif’s images deliver as much purpose. Self-taught Arif is constantly having to make calculated decisions, and one of her most difficult has been to consciously side-line medicine for photography, in order as she says, to ‘venture into the light of potential I could feel growing inside me’. Unlike in neighboring India where photography has a lifeblood all of its own, in Lahore and Karachi photography has still to establish itself; and Arif is the vanguard of a new wave of photography that is positively altering engrained preconceptions about the value of the photograph in an age of the image.”
Rajesh Punj is a London based art critic, correspondent, curator and collector with a specialist interest in emerging markets.
“Photography is a simple, yet a difficult medium to explore interesting, creative, original and genuine ideas. Since paradoxically taking a picture through a camera is so simple, yet in some photographs you realize that this simple procedure becomes highly difficult, because the process or course of putting meaning into those images is really difficult. I find in this exhibition, the works on the surface look as if they are seen, recorded and documented, yet when you look at them closely they look almost like a personal interpretation of places, people, areas, cultures and diversity, and they are about art making as well. So i feel that photographer Maryam Arif, has moved from one level to another level, in which the camera becomes an extension of her eyes… and the eyes, as we know, are the extension of the mind. So in that way the three layers of image making, the camera, eyes and mind… or the three layers of dealing with the image or pictorial space are in harmony with each other. Because what we see makes us think in terms of how she has recorded, at the same time we begin to notice how these things exist between reality and impossibility, or between actuality and imagination, or between fantasy and the concrete world. And i think that is an interesting question, when we look at these images, that make us think that maybe this is possible or maybe this is not possible. And probably that question is the real intent of the Artist, and the real content of the show.”
Famous for his writings on Pakistani Art, Quddus Mirza is a Pakistani art critic and art educator based in Lahore, Pakistan. He is the Fine arts head of the Department at National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan.
“When i approach Maryam Arif’s work, what immediately comes to mind is the play of spaces, light and shade in relation to human behavior, and how spaces exert a certain mood on human behavior, and how human behavior changes in response to each new space. Apart from that what comes to mind is transition, transcendence and in some odd cases even metamorphosis… how life remains constantly in the throws of transition and transcendence and how spaces transform themselves with the change in landscape, and how human beings transform with the shift in spaces. So, the landscape as a space in general or even the enclosed space, the man built environment, and the elements of light and shadow associated with both open and closed spaces, their relationship to human behavior, to principles of cognition and recognition, memory and erasure, even arrival and departure, are what that comes to mind.”
Aasim Akhtar is an Islamabad based artist, art critic and curator. His writings are published nationally and internationally.