Small Business Saturday: Affan Baghpati Jewellery

Artist Affan Baghpati’s practice reached new heights when he exhibited in Dubai last year from among the group of artists whose works made up the Pakistan Pavilion, a part of the Dubai Expo 2020. Even before this exhibition, his works have been displayed internationally. 

In his own words, his practice “revolves around collected, altered and fabricated objects. These discarded objects, once functional in regional Pakistani household, are either losing or have already lost their value, presence, and function which represents old regional design and material culture. These rare finds are intriguing to me as most of them are no longer in production or domestic use. I am interested in locating the purpose and notional function of these objects through re-interpretation of their design, aesthetics and form.” 

Not only are his works intriguing but so beautiful to look at. If there’s ever a chance to own an original Baghpati, it is here: the artist launched his own jewellery line at the start of this year, with inspirations taken from his artistic practice and combined with the delicate process of jewellery making. Our team was fortunate enough to get a one on one interview with the creator. 

Ameera from LibasNow: You’re an artist who specialises in object-making. What aspired you to open your own business selling jewellery?

Affan BaghpatiI have been interested in craft practices of South Asia. During my academic training I was inclined towards sculpture, and traditional jewellery practices. For me, it is exciting to see how sculptures or objects can transform into jewellery that can inform a human body.

A: Tell us a little about your journey from when you started to today?

ABIt is tricky to quantify when the journey started. Perhaps as a child when I use to collect empty boxes, or when I would collect broken discarded pieces of ornaments. Today the process of collection, making, and viewer is much more informed.  

A: What is the process behind jewellery making? 4. What inspires your designs? 

ABEach piece is hand-made with 925 Sterling Silver. Unlike many craftworks, the discipline of jewellery requires a multitude of stations. These stations include designing, preparing Silver, drawing wire, hand-sawing, molding/casting, fabrication, granulation/filigree, finishing/filing, buffing, polishing, and plating. Apart from these the bezel, stone setting, hot and cold enameling, stamping, chiseling/repousse, doming are some other techniques that are at times employed in the process of a single pair of earrings.

Most of the imagery is imbued with the traditional Indian Mughal miniature paintings and objects from our material culture. This includes the symbolic filigree of a kohl container which is a reoccurring motif in my practice. The processes mentioned above, and images and text from history has been a driving force.  

A: Would you want to expand?

ABGradually I would like to expand on exploring more indigenous techniques that are dying out in silversmithing. The need of experimenting becomes urgent as one gets exposed to design research.  

A: If you could collaborate with any artist or creator, who would it be?

ABI would love to collaborate with thinkers and practitioners who express in a variety of mediums. A chef for example would be a great collaborator to make edible jewellery. Or a horticulturalist perhaps can bring in tangible ideas of wearable plants.

Baghpati‘s contemporary jewellery can be found on Instagram @affanbaghpatijewellery

Artist, critic and a self proclaimed historian. I write about the this and thats, odds and ends, and etceteras of the art world.

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