David Chalmers Alesworth, (A.R.B.S.) was born 1957 in Oxshott in Surrey not far from Wimbledon, London UK. He is a Pakistan-based English artist. Trained originally as a sculptor, he moved to Pakistan in 1987 and engaged with the popular visual culture of South Asia and with urban crafts such as truck decoration. He teaches art in Pakistan at various institutions including currently the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Lately, he has also acted as a juror for the Kara Film Festival.
Alesworth studied art at the Wimbledon School of Art in the tradition of late Constructivism and won the prestigious Stanley Picker Fellowship at the Kingston University. He then took up a teaching assignment at the Glasgow School of Art. His encounter with Pakistani culture, especially truck art, in the early 80s opened up his practice to a range of new materials and he moved to Pakistan in 1987.
He started working with truck artists in the mid-to-late 90s and was attributed with some acclaimed installations, conceived in collaboration with Durriya Kazi. Through these collaborations and working with these craftsmen, he produced installations or interactive sites, such as Heart Mahal, Very Sweet Medina and Promised Lands (Arz-e-Mauood) which generated substantial interest at local and international showings and cultivated a renewed attention towards cultural politics and aesthetics of cinema hoardings, truck art, bazaar artefacts, and commercial sign paintings.
Where most of his practices were based loosely around decorative flourishes of the urban bazaars, his central themes have remained environmental degradation and nuclear proliferation influencing works like Two Bombs Kiss in 1993.
Art and exhibits
Over the years, Alesworth has examined the conventions and visual codes of Pakistani society and of urban life in particular. His exhibits have displayed a wide range of formal influences from contemporary mass culture to the purism of late Constructivism. Many of these themes were evident in his versions of missiles and the very English teddy bear toys,displayed at the Canvas gallery (Karachi) in 2002.
In October 2002, Alesworth exhibited his latest collection of work which involved components of reality reconstructed in metal. Much celebrated however were his varied scales of missiles that stood on bowed legs. He placed them around town to note public reaction to the pieces.
This grew out of concern for the induction of nuclear weapons in Pakistan and these concerns were also voiced by others. This refers to Pakistan's nuclear tests by the government before Musharraf's. The nuclear tests in April 1998 had become an iconic symbol in minds of people street-wise and images of the Ghauri missile were painted atop trucks and walls all over the city. Models of the missile were displayed as sculptures across town. David referred to his latest work as a continuation of an enduring enquiry and celebration of Pakistan’s urban street culture and commended it as part celebration of the material and process and part critique of the dubious and potentially disastrous aspiration to weaponise the nation.
The exhibition had a companion show that showcased even more of peculiar form of art displaying David's affection of the very English toy, a teddy bear. Where he unpacked this globalized icon in numerous ways. The teddy bears were translated into welded, riveted and soldered steel plate with polka dots and displayed in public places similar to the missiles.
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- "Curriculum Vitae: David Alesworth". Vasl International Artists' Collective. Retrieved 2008-05-14.[dead link]
- "David Chalmers Alesworth". Vasl International Artists' Collective. Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- "Faculty listing". Beaconhouse National University. Retrieved 2008-05-14.[dead link]
- Farrukh, Nilofer. "Walking the trodden path". Newsline Pakistan. Archived from the original on 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2008-05-14.