Fish Meets Grill, VM Art Gallery, ZVMG Rangoonwala Community Centre 
Karachi, Pakistan
March 2021, 

These images combine stories of mysticism, faith and building on the lands we claim for ourselves. Drawing upon the remnants of the Parthian/Zoroastrian archaeological site called Dura-Europos - now entirely annihilated in modern day Syria - researchers tell us that the city was once multi-ethnic and had equal status settlements for people of varying economic backgrounds. Perhaps the current state of this once ancient idyllic landscape can be compared to Karachi’s impending doom as we lose the desire of wanting to live with creatures of other blood and languages because of irrational phobias and hierarchical city planning. 

 

Shadows of soon to disappear Bundal and Buddo islands recede while being heckled by the harpoons across the wall which further reference the act of whaling and species extinction. There are some Zoroastrian stories of rituals and rebels serving as constants; The metal half moon stands called mah-ruy are used for prayers and are connected through twigs to conduct conversation from this earthly world to the spiritual world.  We can see the Indian Parsi lawyer Khursheed Framji Nariman’s prison coat, which he wore after being imprisoned four times for opposing British colonial rule in the 1930s, primarily due to his beliefs on exploitive maritime trade.  This is in continual conversation with Charles Dance as Lord Mountbatten from Netflix’s The Crown series when he unwillingly retires to his bath tub after being released from his title as The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Defence Staff.

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'Life After Dura-Europos', Oil on Wood,  42 by 32 inches,  March 2021,

Harpoons around the painting are made of metal, wood and polypropylene rope

VM Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan

Photographs by VM Art Gallery

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'The Sea Lord and His Prisoner', Oil on Wood,  42 by 32 inches,  March 2021,

Harpoons around the painting are made of metal, wood and polypropylene rope

VM Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan

Photographs by VM Art Gallery

 

Fish Meets Grill, VM Art Gallery, ZVMG Rangoonwala Community Centre 
Karachi, Pakistan
March 2021, 

Drawing distances and journeys with relics that no longer exist, these wooden T-scales are overt references to planning and the somewhat masculine task of drafting, categorising, and allocating land. Architecture is obviously a lens through which we decipher the land but sometimes, because of our built environments, we may never really see what lies beneath us and what came before the structures around us. The layers of storytelling on these family owned T-scales attempts to navigate around issues of unearthing. 

 

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Above T-Scale ', Oil on Wood,  32 inches,  March 2021,

Bottom T-Scale ', Oil on Wood,  42 inches,  March 2021,

VM Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan

Photography credits: Humayun Memon

 

Past - Present - Future, Koel Gallery
Karachi, Pakistan
March 2021, 

Looking at the ways in which we build upon scavenged land  in a modern society, the work picks upon images around South India which document its architectural transformation. From the site surveyors, to draft plans, to the eventual ageing of a building. 

 

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Above: 'Surveying the  Land', Oil on Wood,  4 by 6 inches,  March 2021,

Below: 'Dar-i-Mihr in Bharuch', Oil on Wood,  2 by 2 feet,  March 2021,

Koel Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan

 

Sweeping Back the Sea, Aicon Gallery, 
September 2018, New York, USA

It is not uncommon in Karachi for your neighbours to be strangers and for the streets which you pass every day to be unknown territory. This city changes every day and what I call home is now a bizarre paradox of predictable and uncomfortable environments, pulled together through cement, iron bars, mercury glass, coated with candy floss hues of wall paint. 

Since 1992, I’ve lived in one of the oldest residential areas in Karachi called Bath Island. Beneath the sickly sweet apartments and broken footpaths lies a Bath Island of complex history and undulating stories. 

This series of work is an ongoing reflection of disruptions in residential areas such as Bath Island and what the ideal home is today for a middle class Karachi citizen. As property passes through new hands and roads are scrapped away every week, the rarity of stability in the physical environment has launched a tussle for shelter, propelling a race to reach the sky and plummet through the centre of the earth. Who knows where it will take us in the future? 

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'Real Estate Dreams', Oil on Jute, 12 by 30 inches, August 2018, Sweeping Back the Sea, Aicon Gallery, New York, USA

You Selfish Dreamer
Art Divvy Project for Rossi & Rossi, 
November 2017 London

 

Armed and Equipped;

 

The clattering of the Mahjong tiles echoes in my ears. The soft green sued lining of the table has just been brushed clean. 

 

I’m in the kitchen and I turn to my grandmother one last time before I’m pushed into the living room. ‘Please don’t make me hold the tray of tea-cups’ I plead. My whining gets me nowhere and I count every step with baited breath as I balance the tray on my arms.  

 

They watch me place the tray down as they assemble mahjong tiles over batasaas and tea…strategically distracting one another in hopes of veering the game towards their favour. It’s only 4:00 pm – their day has just begun. 

‘Mahjong War 2’, Oil on Canvas, 12 by 8.5 inches, 2017, Rossi and Rossi Gallery, London, UK

‘Mahjong War 1’, Oil on Canvas, 8 by 10 inches,  2017 Rossi and Rossi Gallery, London, UK

 

We Ate The Birds, Koel Gallery,

August, 2017, Karachi, Pakistan 

 

 

Occasionally on Sundays during lunch at my grandmother’s home we would spot through the dining room windows, a mother egret and her baby nervously pecking through the barren backyard garden. I found it so peculiar that these feeble yet elegant white birds were foraging around in urban Old Clifton where garbage, smoke and human occupation would easily scare away any animal.

 

Over the years, the Sunday lunches stopped and so did the egrets’ visits; with the growing encroachment of man’s need for ‘civilization’ migratory birds such as the egrets are faced with a limited number of spaces to call home.

Since the past couple of years I have been interested in documenting old houses in Karachi which have uncertain futures. Due to family complications for the aging owners, high maintenance costs and an increase in the need for land to build modern apartments to house the rising middle class, these old houses of Karachi need a purpose to continue standing. Viewed as a costly burden, many of the owners’ heirs feel inclined to sell off the property, unaware of their contribution to the erasure of Karachi’s history.

 

These series of compositions feature an ideal situation where perhaps, the egrets could inhabit these homes and possibly be the future owners since the estates are unwanted by humans. Perched on top of windows, cabinets and crouched behind furniture, the egrets are shown to be taking over the interior space much like as we humans have taken over their natural habitats and homes. 

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'The Egret Next Door I', Oil on Lasani Wood, 8 by 44 inches, Koel Gallery, August, 2017

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'The Egret Next Door II', Oil on Lasani Wood, 8 by 44 inches, Koel Gallery, August, 2017