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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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International Luxury Brand Spa Ceylon Opens its 98th store in Karachi

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The world’s largest Ayurveda Wellness chain opened its 98th international store with the opening of an exclusive Wellness Boutique at Defense Housing Society’s Bukhari Commercial Area located in the heart of the city of Karachi.

Speaking at the sumptuous launch, master franchisee and Spa Ceylon Pakistan’s CEO Saeeda Mandviwalla, said, It gives me great pleasure to be able to bring Spa Ceylon to Pakistan because for me it is more than just a brand; it is a brand affiliated with my heritage & identity. Being from Sri Lanka originally, it is with pride that I bring a piece from my birthplace to my current home; and the benefits of this brand will be felt by all age groups of the population.”

Spa Ceylon now produces over 500 all-natural Ayurveda inspired personal care, wellness, make-up and home aroma products. The complete range comprises prestige skin, body, bath, scalp and hair care preparations, oils, balms and potions, colour cosmetics, home aroma blends, candles, diffusers, incense, herbal infusions and gourmet teas, handmade stoneware, bath accessories and a range of tropical resort wear.

Attending the opening, the co-founder director Shalin Balasuriya explained, “The continued growth of the international wellness market to over US$ 4.2 trillion signals a strong shift in consumer preferences towards wellness. Spa Ceylon occupies a unique lifestyle space where personal care meets wellness. Given its brand attributes of high-performance authentic formulations, Ayurveda origins, environmental activism and ethical sourcing, it will continue to resonate with the modern consumer to drive further growth. I have spent the past few days in Karachi meeting industry professionals, media & consumers that reviewed the range & am delighted by their overall response to Spa Ceylon, from packaging to product quality & functionality, giving us confidence that the store roll-out in Pakistan will be a great success.”

 

Also attending the glamorous event was H.E. Mr. Noordeen Mohamed Shaheid the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Pakistan. “There is a great sense of pride in seeing this esteemed Sri Lankan brand bring its presence to Pakistan, and through its success, we can only see strengthened trade relations between the two nations.”

 

Noor Mandviwalla, the young Executive Director of Spa Ceylon, Pakistan, said, “Spa Ceylon’s brand philosophy greatly resonates with me because of its unique emphasis on natural beauty & wellness. Beauty is no longer focused on making people meet a particular standard of the way one should look; rather, it now looks towards highlighting one’s natural beauty, on the outside as well as within. This is why I feel that this brand is truly revolutionary in its take on beauty care and wellness; using the principles of Ayurveda to live a fuller & healthier life.”

Spa Ceylon captures the romance of old Ceylon combined with ancient Ayurveda wisdom to create their range of majestic spa rituals and Royal spa formulae designed to soothe, calm and relax the body, mind and soul. The Spa Ceylon Flagship Store in Karachi opened its doors with a wide selection of the master wellness and beauty ranges to cater to all moods, seasons and needs. Whether you want to Detox, De-stress, find Peace, Comfort, Sun Care or Sleep, Spa Ceylon has a range of enticing ingredients like Pink Lotus Almond, White Jasmine, Aloe Mint, White Tuberose, Water Lily, Cardomon Rose, Neem and Tea Tree, Virgin Coconut, Neroli Jasmine, Margosa Lime, Sandalwood Vetiver and Sandalwood Spice, Lemongrass and Lavender Neroli that will cater to every mood and occasion.

 

 

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This Fun-packed Actor’s YouTube Channel will Give you Endless laughs!

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Gone are the days when celebrities were hard to reach out to, with their personal lives being a mystery for their fans. With the onset of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, audiences can now feel more connected to their favorite stars.

Recently, Pakistani celebs are turning to YouTube, branching out beyond their traditional jobs and exploring their craft in a new space. So if you want to get a closer look at their lives, find out about their hobbies, or hear them talk about their favorite things; you can catch them on their YouTube channels. Interesting, isn’t it?

Currently featured in the fan-favorite “Alif”, the rising young star Yashma Gill is a powerhouse of talent. The very bubbly and cute actress has also recently launched her own YouTube channel. Her channel showcases videos – from personal adventures and experiences to experiments, fan moments, and her everyday anecdotes.

Her journey of vlogging is exciting enough to hook you up on her YouTube channel for hours. Her captivating personality and her natural flair for casual talk instantly grabs the audience’s attention.

Here are all the funniest moments from Yashma Gill Vlog to get your inner kid some carefree laughs!

When Yashma Gill becomes Friends with 75 Snakes:

The Vlog where she can be seen holding snakes in Biryani boxes, half puzzled and half appalled when Azlan Shah puts that snake on her palm. We couldn’t stop laughing at her cute expressions. The content of vlog is so different from the usual content on other celebrities’ Vlog.

When Yashma accepted the Challenge of “Do What They Can’t Do”

Her entertaining Vlog where she roamed around the streets of Lahore sipping local lemonade from street stalls and visited Lahore Zoological garden to take pictures with the elephant.  The climax of the vlog was when she came to know that Suzzi Elephant has died. Did she fulfill the challenge or not? Watch out her vlog to find out more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGZCHEeFqFo

When Yashma Gill tried making Gol Roti

So this Vlog is all about her gol roti struggles when her domestic help was on leave. Was she able to make Gol roti for herself or she had to order food in the end? Watch out her gol roti struggles!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGWdXzV04yk

When Yashma Gill visited Bakra Mandi

This vlog was all about her visit to Bakra Mandi in a black abaya and veil and asking random questions to the vendors. Her energy is unmatchable when it comes to this vlog, from buying cotton candies to bargaining, the Vlog will get you hooked to her channel. Don’t believe? Here is the link to full-time entertainment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dMxeUmiheQ

When Yashma Gill tried stitching her Eid Dress

So by now, you must have realized that this girl is unpredictable and you can expect anything from her. In her quest to do things in an unusual way, she learned from her tailor how to stitch a dress! Do watch to see her on-spot comments and real efforts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXDtoJJA6NQ

So the list doesn’t end here, and I bet that once you start following her YouTube channel, you will not want to do anything else but watch her vlogs. If you haven’t subscribed to her channel, go and subscribe to find out what next challenge she is going to accept next!

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TEDxLahoreWomen Pulls Off Another Brilliantly Mind Striking Event!

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LAHORE, December 8, 2019: TEDxLahore celebrated its 10th year with yet another series of compelling talks at its TEDxLahoreWomen event held at the British Council Library.

Speakers included Dr. Aneela Darbar, the first US trained female neurosurgeon of Pakistan; Soufia Siddiqui, an education research and strategy advisor; Amna Zamir, an Additional Districts and Sessions Judge in Gilgit Baltistan; Maheen Rahman, an investment banker with an impressive portfolio; Maheen Gul, founder of the Lahore Autism Centre; Fareeda Batool, an independent artist who explores Pakistan’s political upheavals and tumultuous history; and Masuma Anwar, a pediatric doctor and musician. Lakeer ke Fakeer, a husband-wife duo of “singing poets”, also performed at the event.

These “Bold + Brilliant” women shared their profound insights and exciting stories about a remarkable number of issues, ranging from the education of boys in the public sector to the careful mapping of the brain before neurosurgery. The audience comprised over 350 individuals, including young entrepreneurs, educators, doctors, lawyers, and students. Audience members also received a chance to interact with speakers during networking breaks.

“TEDxLahoreWomen brought some powerful women together this year,” said Areej Mehdi, the event’s co-curator. “These women have advocated and opened doors for other women, and changed lives with their groundbreaking work and ideas. We’re excited to share their talks today.” said Irteza Ubaid, TEDx Ambassador – Pakistan. The event was presented in partnership with British Council, Nestle Everyday Lite, MINT PR, Uber, Daftarkhwan, FM 91 and Poet Restaurant.

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