My purpose in writing to you is to ask you to consider whether you may help me complete my study of B.A. (Hons) Fine Art. In 1997 I enrolled at the Byam Shaw School of Art on their B.A. Fine Art programme. I was given a scholarship by the school for the duration of my studies with them. However, for various reasons I did not complete the course: after repeating year two, then my third year (which was my fourth physical year of being there) was cut short, and my studies rounded off in order to secure an H.N.D. at the time (this was in December 2000). The principal and I agreed I may return as an external student and upgrade the diploma to a B.A. with one years study at a later date. In all this time I used up my entire student loan. However, the subsequent merger the Byam Shaw has undergone with the London art School Central St. Martins has made such an arrangement impossible. The reasons for my convoluted progress at art school will hopefully be remembered as not because of lack of work on my part, but because of an unsettledness about my ideas, both practically and theoretically (which is hopefully how I maintained the sympathy of my principal). I was awarded along with my Higher National Diploma at this time, ‘with distinction in portraiture’. My particular approach as a practitioner of art is characterised by the application of traditional arts and crafts methods, and a particular concern to found a painting style on traditional drawing and painting skills. In my theoretical practise I have been drawn to an area of thought which criticises foremost the Enlightenment philosophy in relation to art. This area of study also focuses most particularly on the philosophy of René Descartes (1596-1650) and how this is reflected in all literary and artistic movements since his time, and seen to be essential to their character; this study has led me to explore the impacts that Cartesian philosophy has had on visual art since these times. These ideas I found most explicitly represented in Suzi Gablik's book, The Reenchantment of Painting. It may be seen, therefore, that I am drawn to a type of 'medieval' approach to art discourse and practice, involving crafts, sacred art, and even animistic art - this is the case - however, I am drawn also by this area of theory towards ethnic art and Outsider art. While at the Byam Shaw, I found that this approach was not explained in the university lecturing programs. Since all my thoughts and interests seemed to lie in this direction I felt compelled to propose research into areas which at the time may have been seen to have been unfashionable by the standards of the school.

My interests, in what seem to me, rather minority fields, as well as to develop traditional drawing and painting skills - which influenced my theoretical study, have, in my opinion, caused me to take longer than most of my peers to satisfy my theoretical curiosity at B.A. level. However, I remain happy to have taken this approach. Since Leaving the Byam Shaw, I have had time to consolidate my ideas and practise while in full-time work (as the principal and I hoped) and have done considerable work towards a dissertation on the reenchantment of painting, producing a final draft. I have also been working on a number of related pen and ink drawings and paintings. Would there be any way in which I could have my essay (which needs a small amount of further work) assessed at your University, and submit some practical work, even though I am still in full-time work (in much the same way as I had originally proposed with the principal of the Byam Shaw) and thereby complete my final year? Failing this I may be able to change to part-time work for the purpose of doing a final year full-time. Please find enclosed a number of documents (P.D.F files): my essay The Reenchantment of Painting; a list of my paintings; some larger images of my paintings; a statement detailing my reasons for wishing to complete my B.A.; and a statement about my paintings. Please let me know.

Yours Sincerely, Edward Mirza.