â€˜Annual Degree Showâ€™ or the â€˜Final Year Thesis Displayâ€™ by the our textile designers is a widely anticipated and sought after event by most of us at TIP. It holds importance to not only the design graduates, as they flaunt what they have learned in their art school, but also to other students , alumni and faculty who look forward to seeing some exotic, scintillating and eclectic themes exectued immaculately with perfection in form of a variety of products. In my view this year thesis display was a bit of disappointment, the reason for which I will later explain in this review. Starting from the marketing of the event to the variety of products displayed, the level of anticipation by the designers to the techniques employed , the originality of the themes to the execution of the products, there were loopholes which somewhat faded the excellence of TIP Design show 2008.
First of all, there was an absence of shocking and exotic themes in this year’s degree show. Unlike ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ by Arsalan in Degree Show ’07, ‘Moulin Rouge’ by Tauha in 2006 and Disco/Moonlight of Degree Show ’05, not a single theme showed distinct originality and exoticness to the visitor’s eye. ‘Grunge Music’ was a different theme this year, but it lacked the oomph which the earlier mentioned themes possessed.
As far as putting blame on whose fault it has been, I won’t target the design students, but at least the management should have marketed and arranged the event properly! Last year, the Poster Display Show for non-design disciplines of batch of 2008 was held at Commune Art Gallery which proved to be a disaster because of low attendance of visitors. The Poster Display Show held in 2007 was marketed and showcased very well by the administration as compared to this year’s Design Degree Show. There weren’t even any directions for visitors. Fortunately, the third year design students had put up some of their art projects in the Eqbal Ahmed Students Center which was a major relief in improving the overall ambiance of the place.
Coming back to the main focus, one came across major rumors going around relating to the thesis display. According to the grapevine, a lot of work was copied from the internet and other sources, and many design students outsourced a larger part of their work to outside professionals and some even had their designs made by others. Another thing missing was proper product oritentation of thesis projects. Almost everyone had cushions or t-shirts as products for their themes. I personally think there can be other products which design students should explore, for example prayer rugs, caps, bandannas, towel robes, and so on. In the previous years, the products came in a diverse variety, and were executed perfectly, for example, saris reflected the seven deadly sins, Ghalib’s poetry was interpreted through Ghararas as well as ties that were used to flaunt a rock star’s personality! Some more of these interesting products included sherwanis, Chairs inspired by Victorian era dresses, Moorhas that visually spoke of Basant, gemstone footwear and truck art trays and napkins. Saris which have been present in almost every previous design show were missed in 2008. The level of anticipation and enthusiasm by most designers was dead. Unlike previous years there were only some designers who were willing to explain their thesis projects. Exceptions include Imran, both the Madihas, Abdullah and some others.
I would also like to categorise my opinion of this year’s thesis projects as:
Good/Excellent : Feathers, Algae, Myself, Formula 1
Average/ Fine : The Rest
Bad/Not Good : Shower Curtains, Bones, Circles, Load Shedding
To conclude, I think it is true that a lot of effort goes into the development and execution of final year thesis and an untrained person in art, like me, should not judge peoples’ personal design efforts so negatively, since students of sciences, management and apparel don’t do their theses individually, rather in groups, but this is what I sincerely felt about the show. I am sorry for being so negative (and bitchy) in this piece of writing and I hope someone else writes about the positive aspects of this year’s degree show as well.