Remember those colorful erasers you used to buy, as a young school kid? Some were footballs, others were shaped into lipsticks and cars and fruit baskets and whatnot. Eventually, everyone was supposed to grow out of it. This one Karachi based artist’s affinity for those uniquely shaped erasers, however, transcended her school years.
Amna Saleem, a graduate of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture with a degree in Communication Design, draws and designs for a living.
“My usual work is a mixture of comics, websites, apps and branding. I discovered I was ‘artsy’ when I was very young, and getting professionally trained polished my skills and opened my eyes to a whole new world of creative possibilities,” Amna says.
“I sculpt in my free time. I stumbled upon my affinity for sculpture during classes at school. It came naturally and I didn’t mind zoning out and carving away for hours at an end. Carving small felt only too fitting because I love collecting tiny little artifacts and my room is hogged full of minuscule objects, from inch-tall teacups to bite-sized Nutella jars.”
Amna’s workplace is an amalgamation of lots of colors and bucket loads of rubber.
“I have been intrigued by stationery for as long as I can remember but erasers have a special place in my heart. My first sculpture just ‘happened’. It wasn’t planned out.
I was drooling over a brand new eraser and had a paper cutter nearby. My habit of being destructive when idle combined with the satisfaction of cutting through rubber with a sharp blade resulted in my first sculpture. And so started my little eraser carving journey. The first thing I made was a very simple, stylized version of a cat, mainly because I love cats and was pretty familiar with the feline form. I made a couple of these and put them up on my personal Facebook profile for feedback and got an overwhelming response,” said Amna while talking about how it all began.
Since her sculptures are really fragile, she tends to store them inside paint bottles. Hence, came about the name “The Mini Museum”, for her rubber art project.
Amna got her most challenging commission from none other than Coke Studio Pakistan.
“They were publishing a coffee table book of sorts, and I was to create some items that were signature Coke Studio. Using erasers, cardboard and wire, with no laser-cutting or moulds, I cut out a Coke Studio Logo, carved Coke bottles, a set of tablas and a guitar, Everything was entirely handmade, and since these couldn’t fit in a bottle, I got a glass box made to preserve and showcase the tiny figurines,”, said Amna.
“The artwork was published in the book ‘Coke Studio – Sound of the Nation’ released at the launch of Coke Studio Season 6, alongside the works of a few other extremely talented artist.”
Amna has now started making bigger sculptures with Plaster of Paris, but “the humble eraser will always be (her) first love.”
Here are some of the most adorable of sculptures Amna has created:
You go, girl!