National College of Arts

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National College of Arts
Established 1875[1]
Type Public
Principal Murtaza Jafri
Location Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Campus Urban

The National College of Arts Lahore, or NCA, is the oldest arts institution of higher learning in Lahore, Pakistan.

Long ago it was known as the Mayo School of Arts.[2] Gazetteers written about the city of Lahore in 1915 describe the work being done at the school.[3]


In reaction to Industrial Revolution, a world wide movement gained strength i.e. Arts & Crafts Movement (1860-1910). The movement was about praising art & craft pieces hence negated industrial mass production. It was upon pressure of this movement that the British Crown decided to establish art schools in British India.

Sir JJ School of Arts, Govt. College of art, Madras., & Mayo School of Arts are one of the pioneer art institutions in India. The Mayo School of Industrial Art was set up to perpetuate the memory of Lord Mayo, the British Viceroy of India, who was assassinated in 1872. Lockwood Kipling (father of author Rudyard Kipling), a teacher of painting and sculpture working then in the J.J. School of Art in Bombay, was appointed its first Principal. Additionally, he was held the charge as the Curator of the Lahore Museum.[4]


Department of Architecture[edit]

The Department of Architecture offers a five year Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch.) Degree. The course was established in 1985. Earlier the course was offered by the name of N.D. Arch (i.e. National Diploma of Architecture). The government of Pakistan through an Assembly Ordinence gave NCA a Degree Awarding status, hence NCA became the first autonomous arts degree awarding institution of Pakistan.[5]

Department of Fine Arts[edit]

The department offers a four year course leading to a Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts. The areas of specialisation are painting, printmaking, sculpture or miniature.[6]

Department of Communication Design[edit]

The Department of Communication Design teaches the principles of advertising and visual communication, with special reference to manufacturing and marketing techniques. The students are required to complete a design process involving research, strategies of approach, design development and execution. The components of the courses offered are book illustration, package design, corporate identity and advertising campaigns.

Department of Ceramics Design[edit]

The Department of Ceramics offer a four year Bachelor of Ceramics (B.Cer.) Degree. Ceramic design department of National College of Arts Lahore is technically teaching all the aspects of design to the students. The concept developing and designing for the masses is the requirement. The idea of mass production that leads to commercial building of your particular design and thesis is taught. The department is under the supervision of NCA alumni Miss.Shazia Mirza The Head Of the Department, Mr.Naveed Niazi and Miss.Ayesha Bashir both are respective teachers handling the students building in their foundation, respective design studies to thesis year. The department holds its separate Kilns and Potters wheels designed with perfection. The required material i.e. the red clay is provided to the students until their 4th year. A complete study of design and a know how of materials, arranging trips to certain factories and meeting people with full knowledge about the subject is all taken care of under this department.

Department of Product Design[edit]

The Department of Product Design teaches the principles of design and the design process.

Department of Textile Design[edit]

Department of Musicology[edit]

The Department of Musicology at undergraduate level was established in 2001. It offers a four-year programme entitled "Bachelors in South Asian Classical Music"[7]

Department of Film and Television[edit]

The National College of Arts started the department of Film & Television in 2005. The department offers a 4 year bachelor degree program in Film & Television.

Department of Multimedia Arts[edit]

NCA created the Post-Graduate Center for Multimedia Arts (PGCMA) in 2000 and Mr. Muhammad Ali Tirmizi was appointed as project Director. In 2001 the first batch of students was enrolled which included Syed Maqsood Pasha, Mr. Zaffar Iqbal and Ms. Irum Zia from within the faculty of NCA. Mr. Muhammad Ali Tirmizi was appointed the Director of the Program. The programme was developed with the technical assistance from French Government and Ecol-D-Art, Aix-en-Provence, France.[8]

A Multimedia Center (MC) has been set up with financial assistance from the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB)[8] which lately was revamped with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Information Technology.

Department of Interior Design[edit]

Department of Fresco Painting[edit]

National college of Arts started a new department in 2007 which offers a Professional diploma in Fresco Painting. The course outline includes calligraphy and illumination. Ustaad Saif ul Rehman is the famous name in Fresco painting and he is teaching Techniques of Fresco painting in this course.[9] [10]

Department of Calligraphy[edit]

Department of Communication & Cultural Studies[edit]


Societies and clubs[12][edit]

  • Puppeteers NCA was inaugurated in 1992 with the first director Imran Qureshi, Ahmad Zaka Qureshi and later joined by Taha Ahmed Yasin, Nosheen, Hussain Halai, Adeel Mumtaz, Ali Imran...
  • Skits
  • N.T. Mime
Ajaz Anwar a teacher of the college
  • "The End Film Society" also known as "Wehshi Film Society" makes videos for the college, competitions and TV.

"The End" organizes film shows of foreign films and documentaries, with the aim of helping students to analyze technical details of the art of film-making.

  • Cine Circle is the film club that was started by the film and television students of the college. Film screenings along with a discussion session by the directors were organized by the film club during 2009 - 2010 including Taqwacore (film), Zar Gul and Zibahkhana. Indian film Firaaq was also show when its director Nandita Das visited the college in 2009. The society was usually being criticized by the conservative faculty members and students for the screenings of Socialist Realist films including The Battleship Potemkin and Cranes are flying among other Soviet films.
  • Nautankye - experimental theatre group established in September 1994.
  • Alif Adaab - until 1999 the theatre groups of NCA were oriented towards comedy and slapstick genres. Till then only mime was considered a medium of tragedy performance. Alif Adaab was founded by Saji (Sajjad Gul) as the first dialogue based serious theatre in NCA 2000. Alif Adaab's aim was to explore every kind of literary and performing art, but with time it became a theatre group.
  • Undraap Nexus - mime society.
  • Eastern Music Society
  • Western Music Society
  • Dance society

The Dance Society came into being after the efforts of Adnan Jehangir aka "Adnan Nacha". With assistance from the Sundas, the team registered Dance Society at the college stage and it is now a regular participant in local cultural events.

  • Poetry Club
  • Haroof - NCA’s literary society, founded in 1999.

Rawalpindi campus[edit]

NCA Rawalpindi campus was established in 2006, with two departments, Fine Arts and Architecture. The Architecture faculty includes Ali Ahmad Shah, Saima Salahuddin, Waheeda Bhatti, Saira Abbasi The Fine Arts faculty comprises established artists like Nadia Hussain, Aqeel Solangi Nadia Rahat Imran Hunzai and Hassan Ali of the sculpture department.[13]

The NCA Rawalpindi campus, headed by Dr Nadeem Omar Tarar, provides a unique educational, urban and cultural setting to cultivate the students’ latent potential and provide them sufficient latitude to experiment and develop ideas in an environment that promotes creativity and freedom of expression. It also aims to help the students in acquiring artistic skills, ideas and confidence to succeed in their professional careers as highly creative individuals who can carve a niche in the global cultural economy.[14]

NCA Rawalpindi is very actively engaging with other public and private sector organizations to promote art and culture.[15] It is also helping private galleries to grow and has established linkages with them.[16]

NCA Rawalpindi campus is also undertaking a huge research and publication project to document the history of Potohar region.[17]

NCA in modern times[edit]

Due to its distribution as the one of the two highly reputable arts institutions in Pakistan (the other being Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture Karachi), entrance to it has become competitive. Around 450 students from all provinces study in the College (out of which nearly 40 percent are girls) and is taught by a teaching staff of 40.

There is a high rate of employment for its diploma-holders in a number of important organizations in the country: Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan National Council of the Arts, University Grants Commission, Security Printing Press of Pakistan, National Book Foundation, and the Department of Films and publications. Apart from the urban development authorities, its graduates are absorbed in the private sector by advertising agencies, architectural consultancies, industrial and publishing houses.

The work of students can be seen at the annual Thesis Display.


Mayo School of Arts[edit]

National College of Arts (1958 - present)[edit]

  • Shakir Ali
  • Iqbal Hassan
  • Abbasi Abidi
  • Salima Hashmi
  • Sajida Haider Vandal
  • Naazish Ata Ullah
  • Fozia Qureshi (Acting)
  • Ustad Bashir Ahmed (Acting)
  • Sajjad Kousar (Acting)
  • Dr. Shabnam Khan (Acting)
  • Dr. Murtaza Jafri (2013–Present)

Notable alumni[edit]

The list below includes graduates of both Mayo School of Arts and National College of Arts.









  • Sheeren Pasha
  • Muqeem khan
  • Ahmed Naveed Drama writer/short film writer


  1. ^ | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | Article Detail
  2. ^
  3. ^ Arts and Crafts movement
  4. ^ Nadeem Omar Tarar, From Primtive Artisan to Modern Artists, Colonialism, Culture and Art Education in Punjab, South Asian Studies, September, 2011
  5. ^ Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch.) Degree, National College of Arts (Lahore) website.
  6. ^ Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts, National College of Arts (Lahore) website.
  7. ^ Bachelors in South Asian Classical Music, National College of Arts (Lahore) website.
  8. ^ a b Post Graduate Centre for Multimedia Arts, National College of Arts (Lahore) website.
  9. ^ Professional Diploma in Fresco painting, National College of Arts (Lahore) website.
  10. ^ NCA fresco facebook page.
  11. ^ Department of Caligrapgy, National College of Arts (Lahore) website.
  12. ^ Societies and Clubs, National College of Arts (Lahore) website.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Ali, S. Amjad Painters of Pakistan Islamabad: National book Foundation 1995 pg 34
  19. ^ Hugh Heath Principle of Mayo School, Lahore. 1871-1938
  20. ^

External links[edit]

31°34′07″N 74°18′27″E / 31.56859°N 74.30737°E / 31.56859; 74.30737