Archive for the ‘Ramblings of an artist’ Category

Introversion

Posted: October 1, 2017 in Ramblings of an artist

Although often overlapping, introversion and shyness are not the same thing. Although I am very much an introvert, I am not shy in the least.

Both traits are often misunderstood, sometimes even shunned, by those who do not possess them, but in truth both culminate in a degree of heightened sensitivity.

Although such sensitivity may be a handicap in some aspects of life in a society where all too often those who scream the loudest receive the most attention, and those who socialize well are admired even if lacking in other ways; it can also be immensely rewarding when allowed to flourish. The sensitive person may be more easily hurt, but he or she also may perceive beauty and depths of feeling beyond the ordinary.

Art is a pursuit well suited for introverts and shy people. It is a form of asynchronous exchange of emotions, where one may evolve relationships with his or her audience that are at once both intimate and anonymous.

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Solitude of the night

Posted: September 1, 2017 in Ramblings of an artist

Blindfolded

It is often mentioned that a photograph is worth 1000 words. Probably its so but there are moments for which it doesn’t s not seem a suitable medium for expression.

In moments like these, one likes to sit back in a calm quite room reflecting on the inner turmoil waiting for the inner and outer circumstances converge emotionally, which is not always the case; and when it does so it might be in ways indescribable by any means of expression.

It is almost midnight at my native town. Whole family gathered for Eid celebration is excited for tomorrow’s festivities and children, in excitement have refused to sleep. Stillness of the night and its loneliness has stirred a storm of memories. Of times never to return again and of people—-without whom life seemed impossible once— never to be seen again.

An inner restlessness, realizing a deep void within the soul and solitude of the midnight is something which is impossible to convey. Unable to sleep, tossing in the bed, memories rushing in like torrents. Nostalgia of the past normally suppressed by professional requirements in cosmopolitan urban life, turns in to an anguish, a vast sense of irremediable loss.

The camera seemed more a burden than a companion for much of it and the words seem the only crutches for support. It may still be impossible to convey but at least it would be a source of catharsis and a means to analyse the chaotic noise in my mind.

Bewildered and haunted through flashes of memories that relive themselves
I sit and ponder and look into the sky
there is no pain greater than been lost in SELF
battling with a STRONG shadow called SADNESS
she stalks and haunts and bring you moments of agony
she comes along with her sister ANGUISH
and they taunt you,
galvanizing and pinpointing your mind to the PAST you left behind

(Ovi-Odiete)

 

My friends

Posted: July 9, 2017 in Ramblings of an artist

I have two sets of friends.
Those who live in Pakistan, face all problems, want this country to a be liberal progressive and democratic;  free from all types of senseless killings in the name of religion and sects. They are concerned that their children should live and study with peace of mind.
Then I have another set of friends.
Those who left Pakistan many decades ago without intention of coming back. They are well settled,  with their children now in European or American universities. Their children in many cases can’t even speak proper Urdu.
Naturally these friends always seem to be worried about Pakistan.
In discussions when they offer solutions for our problems, they tend to suggest Islamic shariah for this wayward country, stressing the need for some honest but ruthless fanatic to come and enforce it.
Their proclivity to support or justify religious extremism is surprising.
They tend to justify the brutality of militant organisation or show a soft corner for them. I feel their ignorance of ground realities of Pakistan plus a romantic attachment with religion combines to support mayhem caused by religious fanatics. 

Despite all protestations they prescribe a heavy dose of God’s fear for us, praying for some Messiah to push this bitter pill through throats of this poor hapless nation for which they have emotional link.
All this seems funny as I am unable to explain the difference. Does living abroad changes one’s outlook so much?

Posted: June 26, 2017 in Ramblings of an artist

All forms of art aim for self-expression and thus of life itself.  It doesn’t  matter much what the art is. It may be photography, painting, sculpture or writing, ultimately it remains a medium for catharsis and self-expression.

Important thing is to pursue your chosen art with honestly and dedication. It must reflect yourself in it. All else is art for art’s sake: a renouncement of meaning in favor of benign aesthetics, entertainment rather than exploration, obfuscating the self rather than revealing it.

But in the end, all art is expressive, and art that is detached from its creator and from the mysteries of life, expresses the detachment of the age and the culture that celebrates it.

A friend of mine recently asked me where I could find so many interesting characters?

Actually all these people exist around us though in our busy life of a metropolis we don’t seem to notice their existence. It is seeing without looking. 

The fast paced life in a capitalist culture is making us impervious to human life around us. As Albert Camus rightly said, ‘As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means’

My goal is not to document the life, or to capture its thrill to others who may not experience them otherwise. Actually the aim is to share something of my own feelings while roaming in streets. A conscious effort to cross that desert of feelings.

In the words of Charles Baudelaire,  “What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.”

I have no desire to attract people to the places that inspire me, but to inspire them to seek their own. To seek their own ‘innocent monsters’.

 

 

 

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Dust of the soul

Posted: June 7, 2017 in Ramblings of an artist

A viewer looks at the finished product of art and judges it for its artistic and aesthetic value. An artist does the same. However for him, it is also a means of self-expression in which the very process of creation is source of satisfaction and fulfillment; sometimes with total disregard of viewers’ appreciation.

In the words of Pablo Picasso, ‘the purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

In this modern digital world, the effort of get noticed has become tough with ultimate success in art being measured on the basis of ‘likes’ on social media or the number of  exhibitions. In this continuous effort to keep afloat, the sheer joy and satisfaction of creation may be lost. In so doing, knowingly or unknowingly, we forfeit the greatest rewards that art has to offer.

Art is not a business entrepreneurship. Here the ultimate success may not measureable in visible, material forms. Here the most rewarding part (if so pursued) is the process, not the product. To apply the mercantile laws to art and trying to make the process of production more efficient, productive or any other business like goal indeed makes being an artist just another job.

The worst part of this attitude is the mutual competition to be on the top with an aim to capture a narrow art market. Somewhere along the line the sheer joy of creative process is irreversibly lost. Art instead of being a source of enjoyment becomes another burden to carry.

Why would anyone commit such a senseless act?

This is a time of faith. To publicly express and display religious sentiments, exhorting others to do the same. A time difficult to avoid being swept in frenzy especially when being conformist seems easy and safe. Any attempt to keep aloof carries the risk of being brandished as infidel.

Even if the situation is not so bad (at least for the time being) pursuing art with an aim to uphold higher values of humanism seems precarious. The compulsion to take sides with everyone getting fanatic makes it difficult of practicing art with a dream of a peaceful world.

In this milieu of growing mistrust and xenophobia, art, a universal language; has the potential to make us realize that people all over the world are essentially the same. However there is a serious threat, that this might be lost in thick dust being raised by religious hatred and jingoism of holy wars.

However even in this situation, creating or experiencing art can at least relax and sooth us, though we may fail to make others feel the same The process of creating art engages both the body and the mind and provides us a chance to look inward and reflect.  Experiencing art also gives us reason to think and be reflective or may inspire us to keep  faith in human and ethical values Art provides a release, a place for reflection and away to engage our whole selves. We need art to keep our sanity

This reminds me of words of, art critic Raymond Steiner

 There was a time when the world thought that the artist was chosen, and that they were on a mission not to tell us what we have but what we might have if we’d only get our act together and see beyond the obvious. Art was supposed to transcend life, not imitate it. Crap is obvious—and I for one am wearied by its presence. Show me please the light at the end of the tunnel. Show me yet once again how beauty can nourish my inner being. Don’t show me what is, show me what can be, and how I might get there—even if only in my mind—as I lose myself in a painting, a musical score, a poem, or photograph.”