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Natasha Jozi- Maneuvering Performance Art to Show the Darker Side of the Death Penalty

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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.

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The AKUH Launches Sports Medicine, Injury Clinic

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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.

Javed Miandad among many others were also present at the occasion

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.

 

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Events

Beydari: The Dreamer Awakes

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Words are considered the most powerful medium of expression whether spoken or written. The bothe were witnessd in a recent event at Arts Council, Karachi, where a poetry collection ‘The Dreamer Awakes’, by Beo Zafar was launched along with its Urdu translation titled ‘Baydari’ by none other than renown fiction writer Asma Nabeel, the name behind dramas like Khuda Mera Bhi Hai, Khaani and Maan Jao Na.

The event was not limited to the introduction of book and poets, but the excerpts from both the English and Urdu section were read by the famous personalities of media and showbiz industry of Pakistan. Thus the evening was as glittery as it could be.  

Beo Zafar and Asma Nabeel both dedicated this book to their beloved mothers. They extended their gratitude to the Almighty, their family and everyone who supported them and contributed towards their success.

Beo Zafar, the author of Beydari (The Dreamer Awakes) and a woman with a passion for poetry so utterly great said at the event, “I always desired one thing; to be able to express my poems in a language as beautiful as Urdu. My only regret, however was that I couldn’t write as well in Urdu as I did in English, leaving my long awaited dream unfulfilled. It was, at last, due to the remarkable translation skills of Asma Nabeel, the extremely talented screenplay that Beydari was born. Hence, my dream finally came true.”

The guests started to arrive in the evening at red carpet with their pictures done for various media present at the occasion. The event started off with the introduction of the book by the respected authors. Following the introduction, verses from the book were recited by Sidra Iqbal, Sanam Saeed, Yasra Rizvi, Hina Dilpazir, Arib Azhar and Toddshea. Many famous personalities from media industry and literature attended the launch such as Fahad Mustafa, Anwar Maqsood, Javed Jabber, Sana Shahnawaz, Imran Ashraf, Hajra Yamin, Noor Hassan, Amna Ilyas, Abdullah Farhatullah, Haseena Moien and many more. To conclude the event, verse from the book was beautifully composed and sung by Schumaila Hussain.

The event was sponsored by Arif Habib Group, Thyme restaurant, and Edenrobe while Parfaire Events and PR arranged the entire evening.

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