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Unum Babar, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

27, installation

A work from Unum Babar’s series “Thin Cities,” small works made of plaster.Unum Babar
Unum Babar.

Babar came from Lahore, Pakistan, as a video artist on a Fulbright Scholarship to Mass Art’s Studio for Interrelated Media. Then she put her camera down and made low-relief drawings. “Sculptural drawing was my first love,” she says. She built small models of buildings from home, put them in cardboard boxes, and poured plaster in to make casts. “It leaves all the marks of the paper. The texture, the fibers,” she says.

The resulting small-scale architectural casts require close-up examination, with traces of paper and the artist’s drawings on their surfaces like old posters, graffiti, and lichen on city walls. Babar has installed them as one piece, theatrically lit. “I was trying to make this new place my home,” Babar says, “and I realized home is still home. It’s so different there. So gritty and old.”


If the pieces in the installation recall home, they’re also ready to travel. “I like the idea of fitting them into a box,” Babar says. “Like a pocket-sized memory I can carry with me.”