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.
RADIANCE – A Remarkable Innovation in the World of Cosmetology
Situated in the heart of DHA Lahore, Radiance- a laser and plastic surgery clinic, having a team of world-class trained Plastic Surgeons and dermatologists is definitely a name of absolute credibility.
Equipped and designed to exceed current cosmetic & reconstructive standards using proven and innovative techniques, the doctors here provide both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for body contouring and skincare treatments. Through their remarkable work, they aim to clear all the myths related to the aesthetics industry and to provide people the right treatment “with Results” and that too while keeping your budget intact. You will find them offering amazing promotions and packages every now and then for their clients.
Taking it further, we spoke to Dr. Ahmad Wahab Vaince to have a detailed review of their work and to know more about the future of cosmetology.
Tell us a little about your field of work?
Our field of work encompasses professional skincare with the help of advanced technology that includes top of the line lasers and equipment. Besides, we also provide full-body sculpting with special enhancement of facial features. We are offering guaranteed results for male reproductive issues. Here at Radiance we only provide results based procedures.
Why did you choose a career in Plastic surgery?
I really love the fact that plastic surgery is a combination of not just art and science but also technology and extreme customization. A modern take on plastic surgery means you have the freedom to be your own kind of beautiful and you also have the ability to help people achieve the feeling of confidence in a way that reinforces their sense of self. It’s not all about cookie-cutter ski slope noses and magazine pictures of breast, it’s about making people feel good in their own skin.
Where did you get your certifications from?
We are a team of specialized plastic surgeons and dermatologists who have gained wide experience nationally and internationally.
What made you want to open up your clinic in Lahore? considering there is a lot of competition around.
Very frankly speaking being from the same work field, we came across many faces who were badly done by inexperienced doctors, quacks and YouTube learners seeking help for correction which compelled us to start up our own setup. The beauty of radiance is that we don’t leave our patients at the mercy of the technicians.
What are the best treatments that Radiance offers?
Well, all the treatments are up to the international standards and FDA guidelines with top-notch equipment and expertise. But yes facial contouring and sculpting procedures are the ones which we ourselves would like to quote. Because we create subtle but impactful changes that will preserve the feeling of their facial identity. We do a combination of different procedures like blepharoplasty, a temporal brow lift and a neck lift in one sitting and we also help the patients with Botox, fillers and suspension threads to get them into the shape they desire.
What is your personal skincare routine like?
We are a firm believer of the home care regime in addition to the regular hydra facials we take fortnightly along with photo facials. And, yes, we are at times left with no time for ourselves so urgent facial is our go-to thing.
Describe how would you handle an emotionally distressed patient. How would you manage the situation?
We treat patients holistically and listen to them and their queries empathetically and give them advice accordingly. As far as the distress is concerned, a good one on one session makes them easy.
Tell us about the effects of intravenous therapy?
We have really good results of intravenous therapy which not only is anti-aging but also plays a vital role in relieving anxiety, accelerating metabolizing gives a stable brightening effect on the skin.
How are you guys keeping up with COVID-19 at Radiance?
To be honest, the doctors at Radiance had already developed immunity to COVID-19. We got it while working day and night in hospitals. But we have ramped up all of our sterilization protocols as we are doing daily deep cleaning with thorough sterilization between every single patient interaction. We space out patients’ appointments so we are very sensitive to wait times to avoid people being in communal waiting rooms as much as possible. We maintain adequate social distancing, screening questions and take temperatures.
We hope you have an “On Sale and in your size” kind of a day, everyday
The worst part of offline shopping is to see your favorite item on sale going out of stock for the reason of short spanned discounts and overcrowded stores. On top of that, it is extremely difficult to get your hands on a particular size right at the spot.
Many of us are scared of online shopping, horrible return policies, and late deliveries. Thousands of scamming online portals have shaken our faith in cybershopping. But it is about time we started looking for reliable places that give us not just a hassle-free shopping experience but also help us stay within our allotted budget while offering quality products at the same time.
Here comes this platform called Loot Sale. The main purpose of this Pakistan based E-commerce startup is to bridge the gap between the consumers’ want of constant discounts and retailers’ need for fast inventory turn-over.
Its realistic motto “Pay Less, Shop More” is not just an ordinary line, in fact, it provides what it commits with its 24\7 sale that is available all day every day on most of the luxury brands. Accommodating to 220 million audiences of the 5th largest nation of the world: with over 75 fashion brands including BTW, Cross Stitch, Hop Scotch, Hush Puppies, LimeLight, Maria.B, Nishat, Orient, Stylo, The Linen Co, Zareen by Sapphire, just to name a few: everything on this website is at a mind-blowing discount.
We still wonder how the man behind this initiative, CEO Malik Asad, came up with such a feasible and thoughtful idea. Known as an expert in the field of marketing and E-commerce having a strong finance background, he talked about his efficient business plan and shared, “Loot Sale’s goal is to build as a customer-centric brand, providing original products, offering a price-match guarantee and no-questions-asked return policy. The website has launched with an inventory of over 400,000 units, and stock is forecasted to list over 20 lac products showcasing 150 brands by the end of December 2020.”
So, does that mean, more brands and more discounts?
Isn’t it kinda true that the word “Sale” makes everyone excited and happy? Not sure about you, but to us it definitely does. Thus, it is rightly quoted that every woman’s favorite line is “IT IS ON SALE”. And the best part about this digital marketplace is that the items are on sale 365 days of the year.
In a time when the economy is declining and there is inflation all around the corner, we need more of such platforms. So, what are you waiting for? Go and check out this all in all paragon right now that is just one click away.
Minaahil Umar- An Epitome of Grace and Grandeur
Minahil, an architect by training, received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the National College of Arts (NCA) in 2019. Before joining NCA, she studied at Lahore Grammer School where she pursued her interests in Art, Computer Science, and languages. Minahil’s work while at NCA revolved around Urban Architecture, particularly on reimagining South Asian cities.
Stunned by her eloquent talent for creating artistic visuals that are clearly visible through her work, we decided to catch up with the dedicated designer about her off-work routine.
What kind of a person Minaahil is when she is not working or designing?
Downtime is spent predominantly with family, especially my little angel daughter, truly a bundle of Joy.
What sparked your interest in fashion designing?
I’d always been observant and with the passage of time developed a firm understanding of fabric, designing, and color compatibility. I was already offering advice and guidance to friends, and it seemed only natural to take a step in this direction and introduce a revival in the Pakistani couture ecosystem.
Who has been your biggest inspiration from the fashion industry?
I have always been inspired by the originality of the idea or theme but if I have to pick a name — Coco Chanel tops the list; simple, elegant, and original.
Are you self taught or have you formally studied fashion? If so, from where?
The answer to this question is a bit more complex than a simple yes/no response. I didn’t major in fashion but went to what is without a doubt one of Pakistan’s best art schools – NCA that focused on our holistic development as artists. So, despite majoring in architecture, I received some form of training in a range of other arenas; fashion, theatre, music, and miniature art among other things.
How do you think Covid-19 has affected the world of couture? How has it affected your business?
COVID 19’s impact is rooted in its inherent uncertainty. We have experienced a massive disruption in our supply chains, have had to rework our workshops to ensure physical distancing, and developed alternative payment and delivery services.
When it comes to being an artist, what exactly are you most fascinated about that eventually becomes a part of your work of art?
They say ‘God lies in the details’. For me, details matter a lot. There’s a way to express yourself in depth which makes every piece truly unique. While I focus on depth and detail – my work at the same time is minimalistic.
Does this demotivate you that a strong lobby of designers has already been here and it is difficult to survive for a comparatively new designer?
I believe every designer has their own uniqueness and their work has its own charm. There’s no end to learning, whenever I see an artist whose work stands out, I connect with them, exchange ideas. To evolve, it’s so important to learn.
I believe firmly that I have in the past, and continue to prove myself by the quality of my work. Fear goes out of the window when you’re only competing with yourself for self-improvement.
What is your personal style statement?
I like to keep it simple, so a white kurta, jeans with a pair of khussas any day.
If you could dress up one famous face from anywhere in the world, who would it be?
Deepika Padukone for sure!
How do you manage to create a merge of contemporary and traditional at the same time while keeping the real essence of old-time charm alive?
Honoring your roots, feeling truly blessed to have a rich culture of native art, poetry, literature – grounds your ways of thinking. This grounding is the cornerstone of my work, and I strive for constant improvement drawing upon contemporary style. So, for me, it isn’t a challenge to capture the old-time charm alive. It is the tradition that fuels my passion for this line of work.
If not a designer, what would have been your career path?
I’d have been an architect, offering advisory services on urban development.
What were you most afraid of while entering into this business?
Keeping a balance between my family and work.
What one hurdle that you faced the most in this business?
I don’t think I have faced many hurdles, it has all been really smooth for me up till now.
What is one opportunity that you are impatiently waiting for?
Waiting for would probably not be the best way to describe it, I’d reframe your question a bit, if I may, and share the opportunities that I’m working towards.
1- I’m currently working towards expanding into North America. Currently researching on the best combination of digital platforms, comprehensive warehousing, and payment gateway development strategies to expand into North America and cater not only to the Pakistani diaspora but also to allies who admire South Asian designs and fabric.
2- Working towards transitioning into an ethical workplace, where raw materials are sourced via fair trade, safe and inclusive workspaces are provided, and staff is compensated and rewarded for the real value that they bring to the table. I firmly believe that the Karigars are the lifeline of any business and I hope to set a standard of fair compensation and inclusive workspace. We all know it’s about time, someone has to take the first step.
What are your further plans regarding your designs?
At this point I’m content with my creative expression, I’ve reached a position where the business is stable with a small but robust clientele. I wish to connect, learn, and be inspired by others who are doing work that’s similar to mine. We really are carving a niche, and it would be great to connect with likeminded people.
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