These past few days have been a daze. Seemingly without end and drowning in an ocean of essays, exams, number crunching and the suitably mundane. And nothing makes you appreciate creativity like the lack of it. So, in a bid to engage my own creative energies, I bring you five things (plus one) that, for the lack of a better description, are works of art.
Music; ‘Use Somebody’ cover by Sinnan Fazwani
I love Kings of Leon. If forced to, I would admit that they are among my top twenty favourite musical acts. This week at least. I also love Sinnan Fazwani. Again, if compelled I would admit that he is one of my twenty favourite, underrated Pakistani vocalists.
Thus, when the two were put together, the result was bound to appeal to me. Although, I do have to say that this little performance will appeal to most people.
Poetry; Annum Salman recites her poem ‘An Apology’
Mandatory Ladies Only shout-out time. I have written about this group, and their web series in the past, but their featured artists also deserve some love.
This poem by Annum Salman is a beautiful iteration of an immemorial pain, and how hard it hits you will be decided by your own pain. You may read it as a political statement, or identify with it as a personal expression.
Either way, it has to be appreciated as an artist’s reflecting the world that surrounds her; a world that taught her how to speak, and then took away her voice.
Theatre; Stage Nomad Productions present ‘Rehearsal’
The purpose of this diatribe is to give you some context, and also to emphasize this narrative’s staying power. A mock trial that becomes dangerously real when societal norms are challenged and taboos raked up.
The Pakistani version, like the Marathi rendition that inspired it, aims its cannon at patriarchy and how women exist in spite of it. And yes, this is a rather shaky video, but the quality of the performance is still evident.
I would mention that it coincides with other examples of art venturing into this abyss, but that trend should be expected by now.
Photography; Arif Mehmood for Samsung
The Instagram generation’s judgement of ‘good’ photography is so flawed, that it is actually adorable. At a time when composition, light work and negative spaces must bend the knee to expensive DSLR cameras, quality is difficult to judge.
Except when we are looking at genuine talent. Arif Mehmood is one of the country’s most respected, and most talented photographers. He was also one of the first people to respect the art enough to turn it into a career. I have been a fan of his work for a very long time, and have genuinely been surprised that more people don’t know who he is.
This stunning campaign by Samsung is the first time I’ve seen his talents exhibited in a way that does them some justice. For anyone who isn’t already familiar with his work, this is also a great introduction to a national treasure.
This has been one of the highlights of the year. Some time ago, I wrote about the jagged beauty of Jimmy Khan’s ‘Madam’. This beautifully crafted video seems to carry that story forward.
Yes, things are bad. Yes, they are sad reminders of how utterly disgusting human beings can be. But, there is also hope. There is also possibility, and if we try, there has been and will be change. I loved this, and I am so happy that we got this this year. This is when dissent and art collide, and the result is stunning.
And… A Reason to Celebrate
Okay, so there I was, minding my own business. And then, this happened.
Ever since the trailer of Rangreza was released, I have been waiting for this. This movement needed something to tie it all together. And what represents a millennial movement better than slogans on clothing?
This is also special because I kind of take responsibility for this. As shortly after I wrote about him, the lovely Gohar Rasheed and I engaged in this conversation on twitter.
Your wish is our command 😃
— Gohar Rasheed (@GoharRsd) November 4, 2017
And yes, I know what you’re thinking, ‘the marketing department of a major motion picture doesn’t let the blogosphere make their decisions.’ But you know what; let me have this. Or don’t. I just need someone to buy me a bucket of these.