Interactive Session with Abdal Mufti
It was an absolute pleasure for NMC to host an interactive session with one of our exceptionally talented alumni, Abdal Mufti, on Instagram. Abdal graduated from NUST Business School in 2014 and is currently pursuing illustrative art, alongside working as the Head of Research and Policy Unit at PMUI – PESRP, School of Education.
Despite his confounding credentials in the field of management, he is primarily known for his storytelling skills. Being the grandson of Mumtaz Mufti, Abdal hails from a Sufi background and seeks meaning in his experiences using art as his means of self-expression.
The session started with Abdal’s intriguing story of exploring his potential and embracing visual art organically. Like every other teenager, he found himself in disarray, as he was skeptical about his life and the way things turned out for him. At that moment, he got his hands on a paintbrush and started painting. His art served as his emotionally charged means of catharsis, as he felt liberated and found a sense of direction in it.
Despite exploring his true potential at a relatively tender age, he never attended art school and instead took inspiration from local artists like Saeed Akhtar. His decision to pursue a degree in Management (Marketing) indicates his pragmatism, as Pakistan is still far from being a society where artists can easily sustain themselves financially.
Abdal’s art is a perfect mix of his own experiences and a touch of fiction. Regarding his process, Abdal mentioned that he sits with an emotion, builds a story around it, and starts untangling it by creating a visual. Despite a large following on Instagram, he mentioned that his art makes him feel humbled, as he does not focus on reaching mass numbers. Moreover, he makes a conscious effort for the viewer to find meaning in his art that has worked well for him, as he has successfully established a niche following for his art. An example of this is resorting to videos instead of pictures to instigate more human senses to make his work further relatable.
Abdal strongly believes that art should keep evolving, but modern art should not ignore the pertinent issues integral to our society. With our energies seemingly reserved for science and technology, we have forgotten to ask questions that challenge the very social fabric that we hold on so dearly.
Abdal has a soft corner for the disenfranchised. Thus his art reflects his arduous effort to incorporate socio-cultural tabooed issues like early marriages and mental health in his modern art. Besides that, he uses several fascinating symbols in his art, such as mosques, rain, night, and a lot more to appeal to his audience.
Upon being asked about the controversies that some of his pieces arose, he replied that art is all about respecting different perspectives, and people can interpret his art in any way they want. He respects everyone’s opinions and wants people to be accepting of one another’s freedom of expression.
To conclude, Abdal mentioned that respect is the foundation of love and love is the foundation of every relationship; we believe that this is the most significant takeaway for the audience from this insightful session.
On this note, we hope that Pakistan becomes a society where art and the artist are given the respect they duly deserve!