Celebrating Renaissance of Paper Cut as Art at Rohtas Gallery

Celebrating the renaissance of cut paper as an artistic medium, Rohtas Gallery exhibits works of Nadia Batool Hussain, Sophiya Khwaja, and Rabeya Jalil in an exhibition titled ‘Papercuts’ opening on Tuesday.


The group of three artists presents their unique creative expertise through innovative and contemporary style in intricately cut piece of paper. Individually, these artists are praised for their distinctive techniques and approach to working in this medium. As a collective, Paper Cuts provides an insight into how the medium has gained traction on the art stage in a dynamic spectrum.


For many, crafting with paper and scissors might be considered one of the earliest introductions to art dating back to thousands of years. While some have ventured off to experiment other methods of artistry, a loyal few have indulged in their fascination with paper cuts.

The works put on display by Nadia, Sophiya, and Rabeya showcases their creative efforts to produce works that might appear simple in context yet startlingly enigmatic in precision, elevating the form of paper cutting to new heights of detail and imagination.


The artists have shown a combination of divers creative energy and aesthetic thinking to investigate the politics of a simple material i.e. ‘Paper’, which has been a basic material used by artists over centuries. Though the subject matter of all three artists remains diverse, each one of them engages differently with surface and form. Each explores the ‘meaning’ of paper in a personal manner, by cutting, constructing or combining its layers to make ‘wasli’, a traditional surface, or enjoys the poetry of handmade paper.


In her statement on her current exhibition, Nadia Hussain while sketching out her creative thinking says her work is about borderline discontent and fighting sentimentality (in vain). She declares out loud, ‘Rationality kills poetry. I want Neruda. I want metaphors. I want the sea in my mouth and the sky in my eyes. I don’t want rationality.


Sophiya Khawaja talks about her work as a conscious effort celebrating loneliness and glorifying restrain. She says, ‘I do this because I must. If I do the opposite of wallow, it is much easier to cope’.


Rabeya Jalil gives a poetic introduction of her work as the story of a journey, of human identity, of value, to become ‘The perfect being, the ideal package’. This package in journey is like a child riding on a rickshaw, that rickshaw, an economy carriage, is a brand, is face value, an integral part of our being, affected, mechanical, Digitised. But the journey continues, the quest continues of the package of identity to become the perfect being, the ideal product.


Nadia (Batool) Hussain is a visual artist, art educator and sometimes, a curator, living and working in Islamabad, Pakistan. Her work is usually focused on the experience of the body, which she uses to identify the world around her. Her work began as an exploration of the randomness of nature; at times, rendering our bodies dysfunctional and therefore vulnerable — and yet paradoxically evoking the brute strength of our essentially animalistic, almost obsessive need for survival. She had hoped that it would then perhaps be possible to demystify love, desire and other such abstractions as functional necessities. At the same time, Nadia’s works reflected an attempt to understand issues of identity and feminity in this environment. She had hoped to discover some element of truth from experiences and from nature itself. The process is ongoing, and from needing to understand the nature of things, she started looking for narratives and had encountered a need to look beyond pretensions, creating characters, self-portraits and stories that best represent situations. She also collaborates with other artists, teaches painting and drawing – and writes and blogs, to facilitate art practice in her community.


The ‘Papercuts’ exhibition would continue at Rohtas (House no. 57-B, Street 26, F-6/2) till November 2, with daily display from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. except for Sundays.

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