Setjee Rustomji at St James Park eating English pastries.
April - May 2019, St. James Park, London, UK
Photographs taken by Yu Yaoyao
Meet Setjee Rustomji
April 2019, Chelsea College of Arts
A series of photographs featuring myself, dressed in a Royal British Naval officer’s uniform.
This is an explorative work in progress, triggered by my interested in naval conquests, especially through trade between England and South Asia via the ocean.
It's interesting how the iconic representation of powerful British men still live on through visual representation of todays wealthy, educated South Asian men. They run their family businesses, inherit titles and continue to plunder the earth. Somehow, men seem to have all the fun.
Here, I wear a uniform of a universally revered man and wonder what it would be like if I were born a ‘Setjee’ (Gujarati for ‘Sir’).
Photography by Ana Luisa Madeira
Mules Mansion is a multi-purpose building, with the façade modeled on the Buckingham Palace. It housed DAWN Newspapers in the 1940s, provided office spaces and storage for the Cowasjee family and was occupied by the British military during WWII.
Mr. Cowasjee has put almost the entire building on rent and it is occupied by about 27 families from different religious sects and economic backgrounds.
The building is currently tethering on extremely damaged iron rods placed in the basement.
Variawa House, Bath Island
This home is almost a 100 years old and belongs to another Cowasjee family – currently Mr. Jamshed (Jimmy) Minocher Cowasjee who studied aeronautical engineering and is a very skilled mechanic.
This is possibly why the infrastructure is still well maintained as he is always repairing the home himself.
Jimmy Cowasjee and his wife did not have any children; he is the last inhabitant of Variawa house. Unfortunately the house is not listed under the Sindh Heritage Act which leaves its future uncertain.
Mrs. Perin Dinshaw, the last inhabitant of the house and ‘the last Dinshaw of Karachi’ died in her late 90s in 2017.
Although the property is registered under the Sindh Heritage Act, the furniture, artifacts and items of value are slowly being shipped off by the inheritor of the home.
Photographs and trophies found in the house can attest to Mrs Dinshaw’s athleticism and sportsmanship in her youth.
The family kept a mini dairy farm on their large property which enabled the family to provide milk, eggs and poultry items to the poor especially on auspicious occasions.
Spencer Bangalow, 269 R.A. Lines
Neighbouring with the Karachi Press Club, this home has been witness to countless strikes and protests which take place outside its’ gate on one of the busiest streets in the city.
The property initially belonged to the Dinshaw family and was given in kind to one of the Dinshaw daughters and inherited by the Spencer family through marriage.
The upper story is completely furnished and well maintained as the Spencers’ frequent the home annually. The lower story however is not utilised and is falling captive to decay quickly.
Documentation of Parsi Phetas
Research behind the 'Conqueror Series'
A Gujarati pheta is a traditional Parsi hat which was and is still worn by men of prominence and stature, especially for auspiscious occasions. Due to the rather curious design of the pheta, it has been coined by today’s Parsis as the ‘letterbox nu topi’ (the letterbox hat)