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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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Independent Curator, Visual Artist & Digital Content Creator

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Mahaa is an independent curator, visual artist, and digital content creator. She has been actively promoting young and emerging talent around the globe. She has curated various shows in Pakistan, Paris, and Dubai in the past five years.

Recently, Mahaa co-curated the art exhibition at Ejaz Art gallery “ART INFLUX” which was organized by a young and energetic team of e-exhibition. Attended by all the known senior artists of Pakistan, Saeed Akhtar, Imran Qureshi, RM Naeem, and Irfan Gul, the event was a big hit.

The main concept behind this exhibition was to encourage artists in the times of COVID-19 to stay motivated and show their creative side.  Talking about her idea of curation and the e-exhibition team, Mahaa said that it is very important to have a strong connection with art. You need to see things from a different perspective and in a creative way to make the ordinary painting look extraordinary. Curation is not about just the artworks to display in a row, it needs apparition and a visual delicacy.

Furthermore, Mahaa said that It was her first experience working in a team. “Everyone in my team is very professional and helpful. I would like to thank Hira Siddqui, Umnah, and Robella for the assistance throughout this amazing journey of “Art Influx”. Last but not least, I’d like to thank Ejaz Art Gallery for showing so much support and helping us.”

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The Men Who Stole the Show with their Style Game This Eid!

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Eid – a day when we get to dress up and look our best regardless of whether the day would be spent sitting at home or going out. Eid is incomplete without the perfect outfit that just adds to the festivities and celebrations of the whole occasion. This Eid was definitely no different as our favorite men served some major style goals leaving us in awe.

Here’s our pick of celebrities who stood out with their style game this Eid.

  1. Muneeb Mushtaq

You might not have heard of Muneeb Mushtaq yet, but this Canadian-Pakistani tech tycoon clearly knows a thing or two about making fashion statements – because we have seen him pull off literally anything he wears.

The blue kurta shalwar – the black waistcoat, that watch, and those glasses! Muneeb Mushtaq has us swooning over him in this perfect Eid look and has definitely made it to the top of our list!

We decided to add Muneeb Mushtaq on this list of well-known names from the entertainment industry because, not only is he an award-winning CEO in the business world, but has also been creating waves with his style game in the fashion world. He has the looks of a model, so we are definitely not complaining! It was really hard to pick just one favorite from his insta profile – because we are literally swooning over most of his looks that are oozing class!

  1. Ali Rehman Khan

A classic white Kurta Shalwar, paired with a bright smile, was enough to win us over! He looks happy and shining, which makes this a perfect Eid picture.

 

  1. Junaid Khan

Now, this is a look we can totally get behind. Junaid Khan, can we borrow this burgundy waistcoat, please?

 

  1. Usman Mukhtar

Usman Mukhtar went with the black kurta look this Eid. A classic, but he pulls it off so well!

 

  1. Imran Ashraf

Imran Ashraf brings in his own charm to this rust outfit that looks perfect on him! The man knows how to carry off a kurta shalwar.

 

So, which one of the looks was your favorite? Let us know!

 

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Now, Everyday is a PJ Day

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Right now, what do you think is the most essential and high in demand outfit rapidly trending in our fashion market? No, here the answer is not PPE. 

During this lockdown situation and the whole fiasco going around in the world, we can all have differences of opinion on every matter but we stand together on one common question and that is, “Where do I order some comfy & affordable PJ’s from?”.

Nowadays, our routine mostly includes staying in bed, watching Netflix, or working from home. For all of this, we need outfits that should not just make us comfortable but also be easy on our pocketbook.

All of a sudden, many mini-preneurs have come to rescue with their Pj-lines that has brought a lot of confusion for the buyers as to which one is the most reliable of all.

To help you with choosing your next “work from home” diva outfit, we have got a list of online pages from where you can order your sleepsuits and enjoy the bliss of staying home.

Trinklets

After successfully delivering up to date and sophisticated formalwear, Trinklets has set its foot on creating stylish and comfortable sleepwear. The vivacious choice of colors and popping designs give us a sneak peek into what the collection will be all about. 

Talking about the price, a complete Pj set is available for Rs. 2000.

“We believe that one’s comfort needs to be prioritized which is why we look forward to introducing our line of PJs. They comprise of a summer-friendly fabric along with prim and proper stitching which is sure to impress our clients and convince them to order again”. – Mahnoor Imran

A.S Wardrobe

She started with trendy western tops and is now adding customized PJ’s to her collection. This is her astute effort to getting affordable, comfortable and up to date fashionable items under one roof. This is a complete stop for your sleeping gadgets as it does not only provide two-piece nightwear but also makes accessories such as headbands for an on-point sassy look in a range of Rs. 2400 only.

 

“Being a fashion enthusiast, I yearn to provide quality products through my brand AS Wardrobe with a hint of my personal style and taste. AS Wardrobe has always targeted the modern age woman, depicting a charismatic, bold, and ambitious aura. The response to our articles has been overwhelming, but with our target to provide quality products, we are sure to give even better.” – Areesha Soleja

Comfort by MK

Even by looking at the fabric, you can feel the softness and comfort as the name suggests. The brand has got a variety of colors and prints to puff up the brightness and charm in your dull quarantine days. Not only this, but the suits are super affordable and you get a complete set in a range of 2000-2500 Pkr.

“The world is drowning in a financial crisis and my family too was struck by this pandemic. It was then when I started a new venture of night wears. All types of customizing night wears are available at a very reasonable price. I kept the fact in mind that people who are now home-bound or working from home, are looking for something comfortable yet fancy to wear all day. I always try to provide my clients best quality material, and that too with customization according to their desires. – Misbah Amir

Comfy Bling

No matter what kind of a sleeper you are and what sleepwear you prefer, Comfy Bling has got you sorted. Silky and smooth textures, attractive colors, and a complete range of sleepwear definitely makes it a perfect pick for your wardrobe selection. The prices fall in an affordable range of Rs. 2000-2500.

“I started Comfy Bling because of my love for proper and cozy PJ sets. I would never compromise on quality and stitching and that’s what makes this brand different. My goal is to keep a premium quality at affordable prices so that people don’t have to think twice before buying it.” – Tooba Sheikh

PJ’s Turnout

This brand grabbed our attention for its ability to customize our dream nightsuits. Yes, you can go fancy even with your jammies. The idea is to make the boring routine a little funky and fun with our everyday attires. PJ’s Turnout offers great quality at reasonable rates within a range of Rs. 2000. Surprising, isn’t it?

“Due to COVID-19, people are spending a lot of their time at home and obviously when you are at home, you like to wear clothes that are comfy and soft so I decided to start a sleepwear line. Since I was bored as well, I thought to create something productive. Customization according to the requirements of my clients makes my brand stand out from the rest.” – Kainat Sheikh

BedHeads

If you want great quality with an unbelievably economical deal, BedHeads should be your next click to stack up your wardrobe with cool and quirky sleepwear.

“My Journey with BedHeads began actually two months ago. These fancy nightwear have always attracted me but they have been always very expensive to buy, so I thought, why not utilize this time into starting a new venture where people can buy affordable and luxurious nightwear, so with my mom’s experience and expertise along with my idea, “BedHeads” came into being. Our brand promises to provide luxurious and affordable nightwear for everyone. I have got an amazing response from our followers and so far it has been a great experience. – Maheen Nizar

Jim Jams

As bubbly as the name sounds, Jim Jams puts sugar, spice and everything nice all in one place. Peppy and dramatic prints with a soft touch and great quality, these PJs make your hectic work from home routine no less than heaven. The founder Nageen Memon, a mom entrepreneur, is running Jim Jams since 2018.

The price range starts from Rs. 2200.

 

“I have always focused on quality over quantity. I keep exploring new prints and color schemes for my clients- I never stop! As of today: florals, polka dots, and stripes are our best sellers. Launching this brand was a dream come true! Being pregnant at the time, I remember the desire and my quest to find a local PJ brand which was comfortable plus high quality and wouldn’t burn a hole in my pocket. That’s when Jim Jams dawned upon me.” – Nageen Memon

 

 

 

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