Shahida recently decided to change the signature on her art to the simple and anonymous pronoun ‘She’, to denote, she says, “a woman, no faith, colour or culture”, whose art was there to be freely interpreted by all.
Full Circle exhibition marks a decade-long, round trip of mixed milestones and emotions for artist Shahida Ahmed to show new collection of work in Lahore.
From the multiple spins made by a whirling dervish to the way in which life can suddenly return us to an earlier moment of significance, circles in one form or another have long fascinated the British-Pakistani artist Shahida Ahmed, presenting themselves at pivotal points in her life and, inevitably, finding their way into her work.
This realisation of the circle’s significance, in terms of motif and backstory, together with her arrival at something of a personal milestone, convinced Shahida that it should be the central theme in her forthcoming show, which will take place at the Mussawir Gallery in Lahore. Lahore a city where her mother was born.
Titled Full Circle, explores the whirling dervish’s Sufi dance in all its forms, from groups of performers preparing to dance and acknowledging their audience to others synchronised, arms spread and heads tilted, in full flight.
“I started painting the whirling dervishes more than a decade ago, in 2008,” Shahida explains. “I’ve found that whatever I’m doing in my work, I always come back to them and, in the same way, whatever’s happening in my life always leads me back to the same place or starting point.”
The title of each work on show draws on the writings of Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet and Islamic scholar who has long been a source of inspiration for the artist.
While the exhibition sees Shahida revisiting a familiar subject, the whirling dervishes in this new collection are decidedly different, with greater use of colour giving the pieces more vibrancy and a new level of dynamism.
“The earlier pieces were mostly white, since the aim was to capture the purifying process that is a key part of the sufi dance,” she notes. “This time around, I began experimenting with other techniques and the style seemed to change. There is also a different mood to the collection, which I think is due to the fact that it reflects my artistic journey over the decade.”
The arrival point is a multi-faceted one, with Shahida’s recognition of the landmarks she has reached both personally and professionally helping to make the show something of a celebration.”
“I believe that this exhibition is part of a journey that I’m making in many roles, as a daughter, mother, artist and independent woman,” she says. “I’m excited that I’m able to take the audience with me back to the starting point and complete the circle once again.”
Hum Style Awards 2020 – The Good, the Bad, and the Dazzlingly Hottest
Hum Style Awards 2020
The enchantment and glitz of a perfect Saturday night, and with the true spirit of a star-studded affair, Hum Style Awards 2020 kickstarted the year with a bang. Held at Expo Center Karachi, the Hum Style Awards was indeed filled with glamour and graced by big names of the fashion and entertainment industry and turned out to be a compendious evening. The red-carpet ceremony began with a spark with megastars including Reema Khan, Tariq Amin, Zara Noor Abbas, and Mira Sethi among many, walking along and flashing their brightest smiles and deluxe attires. However, the zing started to fade after a few hours, turning into a drabber experience, and the diminutive size of the red carpet relative to previous years just added to the walk being shorter and people getting bored quickly.
The event turned out to be unusually timely, and before it was half past nine, the hall was filled and the show about to begin. The stage was remarkably gorgeous with the graphics setting a starry-night mood, mirroring the space with so many of the industry’s stars. Though the hall space was relatively cramped, making it appear congested at a few spots, especially when there was movement. And what better way to start the show, than with a splash of patriotism invigorating one’s spirits through our beautifully melodious national anthem.
The boost of patriotic sentiment was followed by a performance by a rap dup, Young Stunners, which turned out to be moderately successful in energizing people. It even managed to make the audience laugh at some spots, especially with the comical references to videos of celebrities that went viral on social media – the actor Ali Rehman Khan’s video leak where he is repeatedly seen saying to a restaurant’s staff, “Aap ko pata hai main kaun hun?” (“Do you know who I am?”)
Adnan Siddiqui, the host for the night, gave the show’s opening note, which was perhaps the only part of the hosting that can be termed enjoyable. The other hosts that followed, namely Aamina Sheikh and Usman Mukhtar, steered the event in a way which could have been made more entertaining if it were Adnan Siddiqui paired with Aamina for the show, as Mukhtar’s part sounded rather clumsy, with forced jokes in between. His Hum Smile Awards segment left a lot of the peers watching the show super perplexed, as his supposed impression of PTV’s host Tariq Aziz, was downright vague. The only thing that seemed spontaneously amusing about the hosting, was the use of political jokes here and there, which is rarely observed in Award ceremonies. From the comment on how Imran Khan is the only Prime Minister without his own business and hence, is bent on erasing all business from Pakistan, to the “boot polish” statement, the spritz of comedy was like a breath of fresh air in the otherwise mundane script.
The performances were energetic, and made the audience recall all the classic, vintage Pakistani music, while appreciating the present-day music that is part of our television and film industry. The second performance by Ahsan Khan and Sara Loren was riveting, though if the music is to be viewed separately than the dances, both the performers lacked the energy and the vibe of the tunes, despite being great at dancing usually.
The highlight of the event was the performance by Zara Noor Abbas, who appeared to be an embodiment of grace and art, rhythm and style, as she moved to the beat of the classical songs. Her performance was thoroughly refreshing and delightful, one which reminds you of not only the beauty of the art itself, but also the ability of a great artist keeping the viewers fascinated, throughout.
Dancing to the superhit tunes of the blockbuster film of last year, Superstar, the power-couple Farhan Saeed and Urwa Hocane brought life to the show, as they shook the stage with their dynamic moves. The flow of the choreography and the beat of the dance numbers kept the fun alive till the next performance, which was undoubtedly another key feature of Hum Style Awards. The said performance was a splendid concert by Abrar ul Haq, instantly making the audience fall in love and sway with the hit Punjabi beats. However, had the concert been live, it would have added more of a buzz in the environment.
The Award Categories included the Rising Star 2018-2019 won by two of the Nominees including Mush Kaleem, the Hair and Make-up Artist of the Year 2018-2019 secured by Qasim Liaqat, Fashion Photographer of the Year 2018-2019 bagged by Alee Hasan, Best Model Female 2018-2019 won by Zara Abid, Best Model Male 2018-2019 won by Aimal Khan, Designer of the Year Lawn 2018-2019 received by Zara Shahjahan, Most Stylish Performer 2018-2019 won by Asim Azhar, Timeless Beauty won by Reema Khan, Most Stylish Actor Television 2018-2019 won by Sonya Hussyn in the Female Category and Mikaal Zulfiqar in the Male Category, and Most Stylish Actor Film 2018-2019 won by Mahira Khan (Popular) and Kiran Malik (Jury) and Ahad Raza Mir in the Female and Male Category, respectively.
Surprisingly, despite Superstar being one of the highest grossing film of the previous year, Bilal Ashraf was not nominated for the Most Stylish Actor Film category. If there were two awards given in the Female category in the name of Jury and Popular Choice, there surely could have been made room for two awards being awarded in the Male category as well, deservingly giving one of the awards to Bilal Ashraf.
Other Categories included Most Stylish Sports Personality 2018-2019, won by Hajra Khan, Captain of Pakistan Women’s National Football team. This was a novel deviation from the usual practice of recognition being granted to cricketers alone, as well as the fact that a woman bagged the award.
Style Icon given to Aisha Omer, and other prestigious awards that were part of the ceremony were Best Model Male and Female, Designer of the Year Pret Wear, Bridal, Menswear, Demi-Couture, and Lawn, as well as Retail Label of the Year and Excellence in Interior Designing and Furniture Manufacturing.
Natasha Jozi- Maneuvering Performance Art to Show the Darker Side of the Death Penalty
Natasha Jozi- whenever the name pops up, only one word comes to our mind and that is art or to be more precise, performing art. She is a visual thinker, an artist and also a writer interested in the performative self, collective experience, and Eastern philosophy.
Talking about her vast experiences, she has performed and exhibited her work at International Festival of Video Art 2014 (Venice), MagnanMetz 2014 (NYC), Index Art Center 2014 (NJ), PPL 2013 (NYC), DCCA 2013 (Delaware), LAABF 2013 (NYC), La MaMa 2013 (NYC).
In 2017 Jozi founded “House”- an independent initiative that works towards generating discourse around performance art in Pakistan.
We recently came to know that Natasha is curating the show ‘We’ve Been Waiting For You’ hosted by Justice Project Pakistan (working to improve the justice system of Pakistan), happening on 10th of October (“The World Day against Death Penalty”) at Bari Studio and our intriguing self wanted to dig into more details and here is what she had to share about her showcase.
- Tell us a little about your partnership with JPP and what do you think about Pakistan’s justice system?
It has been great working with Justice Project Pakistan as a partner and especially coming along with an understanding of what they do in terms of their work and what they represent as an organization. I am working with them under the perspective of bringing an art exhibition together. The partnership has been quite interesting in terms of what art does and what JPP does and how does that come together? I feel the complexities of the justice system are always very difficult for a common man to understand or relate to.
I feel JPP is trying to bridge that gap between the justice system and the complexity that it comes with and that is very similar to what I do under House Ltd. So, I expect that partnership with JPP shall be very interesting because we’ve talked about themes, about ideas and how performance art can be used as a vessel to represent themes that JPP works on.
- You’ve worked both in Pakistan and abroad what difference do you feel in the sense of how art is valued here and abroad?
I would talk about this in terms of two perspectives. One is as an artist and the other as a viewer. As a performance artist, I’ve experienced that there was initially not much of an understanding of the medium in Pakistan.
And I also feel that in terms of the value of the medium, since a lot of the work that is being produced in Pakistan has an element of becoming a product that you can actually monetize on or you can buy or sell. But performance art is something that cannot take the shape of a product because it’s an experience. It happens for a short period of time and then it’s over. So, it’s very ephemeral in that sense.
In the international art market, artists are delving with themes that cannot be put together in a form package that you can buy or sell. It’s very important to realize that the value of art is beyond buying or selling it, but also, to experience it.
As a viewer, I really enjoy some of the artists’ work in Pakistan but I also feel like there is a lot of potential in young artists, the work that they’re doing where they’re not allowing the market or the business to affect their process. I feel it is very important for an artist to liberate themselves from the fear of value is equal to money because we’re living in an age where innovative ideas are of great significance? I definitely feel that with the wake of the internet, a lot of artists are now traveling abroad and are coming back and just sort of exchange that is happening.
Also, in Pakistan, a lot of times we look at something from an exotic lens or we try to mimic or reproduce what’s being done abroad. I don’t really think that is of value. But at the same time, I definitely see that contemporary artists from my generation are trying to create a more balanced or a more contextualized relationship with what’s happening in Pakistan and what’s happening outside Pakistan.
- What do you think about Justice Project Pakistan?
I was not familiar with JPP before I was contacted by JPP for this particular project. Once I got to know about their work, I met the team and I saw the projects that they have been doing in the past. I was sort of intrigued, and a little amazed to see a human rights organization that is so much invested in the people and what is happening in their lives.
I feel that JPP is trying to bring awareness and spark conversations that are around the justice system. I feel why such organizations are so much needed is that they try to create a more humanize and understandable way of looking at the sensitive issues that people are facing in Pakistan. It is great that they are trying to use disciplines that are beyond just law and trying to reach out to a wider audience. It’s a pleasure to work with them.
- How has been your experience of curating performances for ‘We’ve been waiting for you’?
The curatorial experience for me is not just about curating an exhibition as an organizer. For me, it is sort of coming together and trying to create an experience that is long-lasting. I’ve been working with the artists under the initiative that I run called House Ltd. and I have cultivated a relationship with them. So, every time we come together, we go into a deep-rooted conversation, look at what we are doing and try to unpack not just the themes but, also how can this exhibition contribute to the larger discourse of performance art in Pakistan.
And so for this exhibition as well, the ideas that we were dealing with were very real. I spent a lot of time just having conversations with the artists and discussing the craft of performance art.
A lot of the work that we do for performance art is not rehearsed. Thus, it is very authentic as an artist and as a curator to go into that space and to get involved in.
- With what kind of expectations should people come to this event?
The first thing that I would definitely like to say is that space and the venue that we’ve selected for this exhibition, Bari Studio, is amazing for performance art. The moment I stepped into Bari studio I fell in love with it.
The audience would definitely experience something that they have never seen before in terms of venue and how it’s used.
Also, we are having 10 performances in one venue. It’s going to be a really charged experience for everybody where all of the artists are dealing with themes around the death penalty and doing performances that are very authentic and very raw. The materials that the artists have used in the performances range from, real bones to bricks to sand. Going from one performance to another where all of these have been curated in relationship to one another, each performance will be experienced individually, but then all of them coming together is going to have an impact of its own.
- What is art for you?
That is definitely a very loaded question. I would say for me art is about an experience, what you experience when you look at something. It is not just a visual experience, but a very sensory experience. That is why performance art is a medium that I’m addicted to.
It cannot be confined. I definitely have a lot of reservations about the way the market dictates the production of art. I don’t think that one should allow the market to dictate what the artist is going to make or what art should be because art is definitely about looking at life and looking at what is around you from an unfazed way.
Art can actually supersede or can reach a point of impacting a larger audience and can eventually become universal and transcend space and time and location.
The AKUH Launches Sports Medicine, Injury Clinic
Sportspersons’ mobility is a crucial aspect of their sporting journey. Hence, their injuries, severe or mild, require timely and specialized attention to keep their athletic dreams thriving.
The Aga Khan University Hospital celebrated the launch of its new Sports Medicine and Injury Clinic on Friday, in the presence of over 150 people. Pakistan’s celebrated sportspersons and prominent sports management personalities, including Samina Baig, Javed Miandad, Samilullah, Moin Khan, Hydro, and Jamil Chandio to name a few, gathered to commemorate the importance of focused care for sports injuries.
“I am so excited to celebrate the launch of Sports Medicine and Injury Clinic at The Aga Khan University Hospital. Sportspersons from diverse sporting fields have various types of injuries and they struggle getting complete treatment. I am happy to see the efforts by AKUH”, said Samina Baig during her keynote address. As the first Pakistani woman to climb Everest and the Seven Summits, she highlighted the honorable moment for her to raise the flag of Pakistan on these summits.
While speaking on the occasion, Dr. Pervaiz Hashmi, Orthopedic surgeon and Service Line Chief, Musculoskeletal and Sports Medicine, discussed the inception and the need of Sports Medicine. “We aim to develop sub-specialties in future that cater to all types of sports-related injuries”, said Dr. Hashmi while highlighting the pivotal role of the new clinic in rendering dedicated care to sports injuries.
A panel discussion was also organized to emphasize the high-quality treatment regimen for sports related injuries. The panel included, Samina Baig, Javed Miandad, Pakistan’s cricket legend and former batsman, Hassan Sardar, former field hockey player and team captain, Samiullah, former field hockey player known as Flying Horse, Hydro, fitness instructor and founder Hydro Fit Team Studio, and Jamil Chandio, martial arts instructor and founder K7 Fitness & Kickboxing Academy. Although having diverse sports and athletic journeys, the guest panel agreed upon the need of patient-centered care for each type of sports related injury.
The efforts of the Aga Khan University Hospital to enhance its Sports Medicine services were applauded by key personalities from health and fitness and sports management arena. “I am so delighted to see that The Aga Khan University Hospital has continued to consistently deliver on its commitment of high-quality care, and took a step forward to establish Sports Medicine and Injury Clinic of international standards”, said Moin Khan, former wicket-keeper and batsman for Pakistan’s cricket team.
While ending the evening, Shagufta Hassan, Interim CEO, Health Services and COO, Outreach Services of the Aga Khan University Hospital, spoke about its commitment to the development of new services in response to public expectations. “Today’s launch is an example of our commitment to cater to the evolving needs of our community and younger generation and provide a comprehensive solution for injury management”, said Ms. Hassan.
Features4 years ago
A quick & fun natter with the gorgeous Naimal Khawar
Entertainment2 years ago
Fruit Chaat Reinforces The Notion Of Women Empowerment
Entertainment3 years ago
Mehwish Hayat Louds Using Truck Art for the Rights of the Girl Child
Beauty3 years ago
5 Top Trends that keep popping on our fashion-gram