MFA Exhibits Explore Class Privilege, Create Social Satire

The University of Alabama Department of Art and Art History presents the Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibitions of Shivam Pawar and Upneet Kaur Mair, April 7 – 13, 2022, in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery, Woods Hall, on UA campus. A reception for the artists will be held Thursday, April 7, in the gallery from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Upneet Kaur Mair, “Look What I Got for You,” 2022, acrylic on canvas, 122 x 84.5 inches

Hypocrisy of the Parallel Universe – MFA Thesis Exhibition of Upneet Kaur Mair

Inspired by Indian comic books and her personal experiences, Upneet Kaur Mair has created a “parallel universe” populated with characters such as a family of thieves causing mayhem for others, as well as themselves. She plays with humor, she explains, “to balance the negativity found in these paintings.” She writes that she uses “irony and satire to represent the hypocrisy of seemingly perfect people.”

To develop the characters in this universe, Mair goes through an internal process she describes as “observing, absorbing, reacting and recreating,” as if she were playing with dolls. “My canvas is my doll house; each character in this doll house has a part to play, so I try to build a narrative. I study my character’s mind and wonder, ‘if I have a family you should have a family too. You must have a wife? Is she beautiful? Is she a thief just like you? Do you have any kids? How many? Do they know you are thief?’”

These works, Mair writes, “are small fragments of a story, like a puzzle which helps me in establishing a relationship with the viewer, by allowing them to use their imagination and fill in the blanks to this story.”

Mair holds a BFA in painting from Central India School of Fine Arts, Nagpur, India. She has exhibited her work in China, India, Serbia and the United States. Her large silkscreen and relief print on muslin (54 x 92 inches), titled Welcome to the Club, part of her MA exhibition (spring 2021), was selected for publication in the August 2021 issue of The Hand: A Magazine for Reproduction-Based Art. She is on Instagram here.

Embedded Memories – MFA Thesis Exhibition of Shivam Pawar

Shivam Pawar, “Untitled,” 2022, oil, crayon and acrylic on canvas, 93 x 59.5 inches

Using drawing, painting, printmaking and installation, MFA candidate Shivam Pawar investigates the lives of the domestic workers who were part of his life growing up in his grandparents’ home in India. Pawar uses his artwork to depict his childhood memories of those workers while reassessing those memories and questioning his social privilege.

Pawar writes that he focuses on the tools, the objects used by domestic workers around him on a daily basis, and their activity, as well as the environment he and they shared.

“Through the lens of time, distance and the increased awareness that comes to me from my current situation,” Pawar writes, his work “serves as a diary of memories explored for my own satisfaction. I aim to build a body of work that recognizes these individuals’ labor in diverse ways and addresses the contribution that they have been making through generations.”

As a graduate teaching assistant, Pawar teaches 2D Design (ART 130) and assists in Drawing I courses. He has a BFA in painting from Central India School of Fine Arts, Nagpur, India and has exhibited his work in exhibitions in India, Norway, Serbia and the United States. His collagraph with chine-collé, titled Hardwork, was selected by juror Alison Saar for the International Print Center’s exhibition Umbra: New Prints for a Dark Age in 2019. Two works by Pawar were chosen for publication in the August 2021 issue of The Hand: A Magazine for Reproduction-Based Art. His work has been juried into numerous international and national exhibitions. He is on Instagram here.


SGAG Gallery hours are Monday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm; Tuesday 11:00 pm – 7:00 pm; Wednesday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm; Thursday 11:00-7:00 pm; and Friday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, during the spring semester when school is in session.

Information about visitor parking is available on the UA parking services website. For more information, contact the gallery at (205) 348-1893.

The Sella-Granata Art Gallery is a vital learning resource for the department and an essential part of the education and development of UA students and our community. The gallery is run by a committee of faculty, staff and students, and supported by student workers. Visitors are not required but are encouraged to wear masks inside the gallery. Funding support for the gallery comes from the UA Department of Art and Art History and the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, go to the gallery’s webpage.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.