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MDX graduate completes prestigious residency at Pakistan's National College of Arts

Printmaker adapted his style to use local substitutes for canvas and got a warm reception for his exhibition at Zahoor ul Akhiaq Gallery

Recent MDX Printmaking Master's graduate Adam Hartnell has completed a five month residency at Pakistan's National College of Arts in Lahore, under the guidance of Principal Professor Dr Murtaza Jafri.

The College has a long history as the successor institution to one of the four art schools established under the British Raj, and is today a prestigious research and creative institution: all faculty members are practitioners in their fields. Professor Dr Jafri is a painter, draftsman, sculptor and educator who has studied around the world including in the UK and Canada.

During his time in Lahore, Adam's practice evolved to using, instead of canvas, the material from which tailors make the native chemise, and painting and printing on burlap sacks used for transportation and shipping.

"The National College of Arts plays a crucial role and has provided Pakistan with many of its international artists, such as Rashid Rana, Imran Qureshi and Aisha Khalid" he says.

Twelve weeks after arriving, Adam put on an exhibition of new silkscreen works at the College's Zahoor ul Akhiaq Gallery, which included teaching an elective for two weeks. "It was really well received by students, staff and members of the public, making allowances for the time period and having to adapt to the available materials," he says.

He adds that he "really enjoyed" his experience of living and working in the country.

"The staff and students reacted very positively to me being there and I made several great friends who I remain in regular contact with.

"The city of Lahore is loud and vibrant, amazing bazaars, full of energy, but the way people drive is very different from England and takes a few weeks to get used to".

Adam originally studied for a Photography BA at MDX and returned a few years after graduating to take his Masters. "That year was great, I pushed myself and learned so much" he says. "It then led to me studying and living in Belgium, which was also a great experience". Other graduates from his Masters programme are doing PhDs or are assisting artists and setting up businesses.

Following the residency, Adam has returned to the UK and is thinking of relocating either to Antwerp or Buenos Aires. "I'm continually upgrading my portfolio and searching for a gallery," he says.

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