My performance titled ” I am ….”


Art, as we all know, is an expression and when this expression is in the form of a performance, the term used for this form of art is Art Performance.  In this form of art, an artist puts her/himself on the line to make a statement. In my case, the journey started on Friday the 13thof March 2015, when I first slipped into a skirt and did the first part of my performance.

I was wearing a shimmering skirt with a ladies shirt, hidden under the overalls. My first stop was Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVSAA). I go into the washroom, shed my overalls, and out comes a guy wearing clothes which even the bold women of the region would think twice before wearing in public.  I paraded all over IVSAA, and then did the same at T2F, KOEL café, Koel Gallery, Sanat Gallery.  And Fika Café.

All these spaces were taken up by surprise, all were related to fines arts, in each of these place, I would have required a proper permission to exhibit or do an art performance or even do photography.

The performance is Titled “ I am …. “ and as most of my works it was designed and conceptualized to trigger questions. Is he a guy, or a girl, do clothes define gender? gender orientation? how it feels when men are objectified? why am I doing it? What am I gaining from it? Is it a shoot, a show, or my preference of dress up ?  and a  lot many more questions.

Besides these questions, there was a very obvious but yet overlooked layer of vandalism in the performance. I was invading a space, doing a performance, leaving its managing team and people having their lunch baffled as to what is going on and leaving without an explanation. The layer of vandalism to point to the vandalism a woman faces every day in our society, it’s different but its there and goes very much unnoticed.

For me it was a breakthrough, I came over my fear of public performance, I came out and expressed and I could see that the questions I wanted to raise were in the minds of the people but they were too shy or may be taken back to bring them up so they remained baffled.

It was then that I decided to extend this performance further. It was just me dressing up differently. Within days I had bought a few stretch ladies pants, and some shirts which won’t be strikingly feminine but tailored for ladies, It was very tricky to select what I could wear because I didn’t want to trigger any rage or anger, but just questions.  I slipped into these new clothes and walked the streets of Karachi.

A few heads were turned, I overheard comments, “ Look at his legs”, “Is he a guy ?” , “ Must be gay”. I had to be aware of my security, I had to be vigilant not to run into trouble, I had to carry a “ Normal set of overalls” A normal baggy pant and a tee shirt to cover up when I am in the “ Difficult parts of the city.

Another challenge was my being accepted, yes some of my friends started avoiding me, my own relatives started to avoid being seen in malls like this with me, a lot of artists started to laugh at me and the irony of the whole process was that I had to be tight-lipped about the fact that it’s a performance, because obviously explaining would have killed the whole purpose of it.

To step up the game another notch, as I was at the time the official photographer for Sanat Gallery, I somehow convinced the director of the gallery, Abid merchant to allow me to dress up for the show,  He was not aware of the fact that A: It’s a performance, B: part of the performance is about vandalizing too.

Starting off in March 2015 each time I was covering a show a Sanat, I would dress in a bright skirt, or a shining dress, totally of a woman who may have walked right off the fashion ramp, It would show skin, it would be pink, yellow shimmery blue. and I would wear it over my body,  own it along with the actual identity of my masculine gender, straight orientation, with an intention to vandalize every single show I was professionally covering in a Gallery which was paying for it.

The audience were all artists, I was laughed at, made fun of, was questioned was rumored to be gay, or belonging to the alternative gender and there were all sorts of gossips. My dresses were talked about and people waited for the nest show to see what next will I pull out of my sleeves. Sadly not many could understand or figure out that it was an expression and it was a work of art.

The performances continued till October 2016, which is when I realized I should stop because by now people had stopped questioning much and started to accept me in these dresses. And the whole purpose to trigger thoughts was fading away. It was time to end it and I decided to keep it unannounced.

I suddenly changed my ways of dressing, started wearing normal men’s clothes and that triggered yet another wave of questions? Why are you wearing men’s clothes? what happened to the man we knew? You look odd, thought that was your style. And a lot many comments and questions that followed.

I had decided to reveal the fact that it was a performance after almost one and a half years of ending the performance that I was in. two years because 1: I don’t like explaining my art, 2: some personal matters were keeping me mentally occupied and I couldn’t dissect and explain what I did 3: I wanted people to forget before I strike again and jog their memories.

I am very thankful To Sanat Gallery for allowing me to wear all those dresses while covering their shows, to Khalil Chishti for encouraging me on the first performance, to ZAK for his encouragement, and to everyone who helped me and supported me and allowed me to express freely. I apologize that none of my supports had any clue of the complete picture and scope of the performance.



My performance titled ” I am ….”

Expression of an artist !


Art is an expression , its an artist’s thought which is put in a visual on a surface in two or three or more dimensions , as many as you can add including sound , smell feelings what ever the artist’s will to toss in . An artist’s expression is free and is for the people, specially common people who may see it by not a very trained eye, not for its artistic aspects but for the mare visual it is and may interpret it in any way s/he feels. 

I my believe and faith and practice expressions belong to people, common people, not the few elite, enlightened, brilliant few but for a larger audience, the majority of the society, not the minority, regardless of the fact that  the minority is the ruling, powerful affluent one. 

It was only recently that I casually installed one of my works at the local flea shop. My work which is priced slightly under 500USD is placed among the old thrown out junk, and discarded items hanging on one of the columns. 

Firstly i have put my work which is a digital print in a setting where its seen by the common, unexpected people, who have come to probably get some cheep bargain who would stumble upon this peace and will question . How much , why so expensive? Who is the artist ? What has been done ? 

The answers are all in a paper which is kept in the drawer and is given only on request – 

The second thing is to make people aware that digital prints are also art, its not just oil painting or sculpture . 

Thirdly to challenge the mind set that art works belongs to galleries only, it wont be respected else where, it will be an insult if you put it in any other setting besides a gallery or an exhibition space- 

My work has come out of the bubble, and its breaking the label placed on art which reads ” can be admired by an elite only”  and for this i have faced much criticism , i have been told that i am “demeaning my work” i have been told i am acting like  ” a mosquito who lives in a dirty pond ”   Well who has polluted these ponds ? Not the nature but us very humans who are now calling it dirty , and mosquitos dont live in dirty ponds , they leave their eggs there so their newly hatched babies are born to the harsh realities if the world before they can fly off to gardens and jungles to borrow a few drops of blood from other animals so as to breed and not to actually feed , Hey we have something to learn from the  mosquitos here who you just called dirty ! 

Well coming back to my work hanging there between the antiques and trash is my work, its for the common people, the people we think are verminous, the people who make the most of the population of the planet and the people who as consumers are keeping us few elites alive ! 

Expression of an artist !

The Dew Action Event 

I was at one of the Mountain Dew’s  “action” event today, I was excited to see the stunts performed by bikers and skateboards from abroad, these are internationally acclaimed athletes, and the event was well spent on, heavenly advertised so the hype was there.

I reached the venue at 5:30 sharp. My pass read gate-2 I asked two volunteers and they confirmed its gate 2, i stood in the line for a good 20 minutes and as soon as i reached near the entrance we were told it a family only entrance, and we will have to go to another gate ( Gate 4),

As odd as it may sound the term “Family” for such instances, in pakistan is any guy along with a female friend or even stranger, but as long as you are with a lady you are considered “family”, anyways we arriving at gate-4 and I realised there is an entry point for families there too. I entered into the venue and so did a few families through the gate beside me.

On entering the venue, and walking to the standing area the families were told to exit the gate and re enter from gate number 2, they told the volunteers arranged by the organisers that they have been sent here from gate number 2, but they were replied that that the only gate for families.

Being a blogger, you expect the organisers which invite to facilitate you, we do need an active wifi link, a charging station at times, someplace where we can keep out gadgets, and have a view and tweet, blog, Instagram the event from. After asking a number of volunteers i realised they have not thought of it so we were out in the crowd with the common people.


Now i don’t mind being with the common people but when you are there to cover the event, you do carry a lot of gadgets, in my case I had a huge camera, a wifi cloud, three power banks, my iPad, and my cell phones. Now juggling with all these devices and also securing a best viewpoint in a crowd which is coming from all sects of the city is not easy, actually its near to impossible.

Also at the event, we were each suppose to bring a bottle of Mountain Dew, sadly the management didn’t gave us a single trash can so it was not long that the venue got littered with the neon bottled of mountain dew almost every where.


when the crowd started to grow, i saw a number of families, people with ladies in the men only section of the venue, they were very uncomfortable and were asking if there is a place they can sit or a way they could reach the family but they couldn’t.

when the announcements started to signal the beginning of the event every one rushed to the viewing area, which was at the same height as the runway for the bikes, so only those in the front few rows could see what was going on.

To make things worst, someone got a bright idea of tossing the trashed dew plastic bottles in the air, and within seconds we could see a number of bottles of Dew going up in the air and landing on the heads of of many, some even filled and they showered the drink on hundreds of people.


This also made a lot of people run and quickly move away from the front. For a second i thought there going to be an stampede but thankfully nothing of that sort happened .

The performances started a little earlier, but sadly the large screen was not high enough, and the crowd was not allowing a good view, There not much to see besides the bikes when they were a the peak of their jumps.


By this time, two hours after arriving at the venue, i decided to walk out, I couldn’t see the stunts properly, i was given no press release, no media kit and no detailed program schedule, plus i had no intentions to stay till the concert in this rowdy crowd.

This is the first time Pakistan has seen such an event, and i am happy that the organisation brought in mostly common people from the city so they could to enjoy something of this standard.

IMG_6243 IMG_6253

The only thing is that the management should have seen  that their volunteers are well informed, and well in number. Secondly they should have made special arrangements for social media personals. There was a need of more food and drink booths, garbage disposal system, more and better people to guide and manage the crowd. If only some things would have been taken in consideration it would have become a memorable event for all of us.

I hope the Dew crew will learn ad will not make the same mistakes when they do such events in the other cities.

The Dew Action Event 

The valley of poisonous mushrooms

I am boggled, I am drained , and i am tired , i am on the verge of disowning the society in which i had always been a misfit, a society to which i tried to give so much,  but my efforts kept going to a waste paper basket, or rather a garbage shredder from which even the the tiny bits of the good i did were not retrievable and than to make it worst i was taken advantage of by a number of pseudo human right activists and that number made the majority, a dominating majority so strong that nothing good bypassed their vicious circles , they filtered everything milked it, juiced it, and only but filled their pit less pockets.

Than came the world of art, I thought this was a world of pure expressions, where people with greater visions will be expressing their concerns, where artists will be dipping their canvases to open to the larger truth but i was soon introduced to the grim reality. The expressions of the majority of the main stream, leading local artists were only but busy cashing into the sensations of today’s international popular believes. Their works are void of any emotional connection with their soul, they are utterly a product, produced to a formula, not to raise an issue or voice a concern, but only to serve the hunger for the sensation the world has to attract the buyers and cash into the exaggeration of a very shallow vision.

I found it suffocating to realist how the majority of the local art dealers and gallerist were making and breaking artists, manipulating and controlling the local art scene. Any one who would appose these lobbies and the bigwigs of this art world would never get a show in any leading gallery of the city, you rub them the wrong way and you as an artist are doomed, of-course unless you are rich and wouldn’t care if the local galleries allow you to show with them or not and you take your work abroad and make a mark internationally.

but then I see, although very few but honest artists, I realize  there will be a time when people will see how shallow and superficial the works produced from this region are , how in the name of “contemporary” was used to manipulated the international market. A work of art is like a book it reveals its secrets in layers with time, it will spell out every single truth, and when that happen the bubble will burst and we will are see a spectacular blue sky and bright sunshine which will wither to death this valley of poisonous mushrooms, the destroying angels of today art world and all the fool’s funnels among the social activists.

The valley of poisonous mushrooms

Society’s Fragile 5%

Blocking the beautiful view of the beach, is this huge building, with Dolmen Mall stamped on its face, i know its good looking but not as beautiful as the sea its self so to me its really ugly. Ugly also because the moment you enter this humongous shopping center the first thing you notice are these expensive brands popping their bright shiny face out of the glimmering boxes stacked one over the other. A shop selling this and a shop selling that, catering to the class which not even 5% of the whole country. To make it worst you will see shoppers holding the fancy little hand bags while their Filipino maids or worst a teenager child labor who are there to manage their naughty kids. but even more disturbing is the sight when you see families from the lower middle class visiting the shopper’s paradise. The kids from these families would be spotted taking rides on the escalators going up and down in the loop and ending up going no where but in circles, yes how typical that is of the lower middle class, isn’t it ?

For these poor visitors who want to take a sneak peak in the lives of the “elite” rich and the “successful ” of the society, the only place which seems affordable in this whole big shopping center is this spacious mighty super store named “Hyperstar’ . having seen it obviously many of them rush to this super market, where a number of products are highly priced as compared to those available around the city, but the story doesn’t end there, because today when i went there, and for the very last time (I Promise)  only to get some juice, i noticed at the counter them telling every customer that they are out of large shopping bags, so either they carry what ever they shopped for in tiny little shopping bags large enough to hold only two cans of soda, or they will have to buy a large plastic “Eco friendly” bag from them for Rs:50/- to carry the items they have bought decently out of the store.

For a country where economic graph has taken a downward dip, where unemployment is record high, people are struggling to keep up with the bread and butter of the family , and even stale bread seems to be costing a fortune, Do we need such snobbishly posh shopping centers, couldn’t we have recreational park there ( sorry the ones we have has nothing but grass to offer ) or an art center, or a public library, or maybe a theater but No to serve those mare 5%  of the whole society we had to built this castle of pure crystals, so the poor can feel more poorer, more undermined, more unwelcome and continue in slavery for another 200 years, while they forget they are a minority of the society they are very much a part of, they may be ruling today but once the table turn’s on them they are too fragile to face the reality.

Society’s Fragile 5%

The City I live in …

so this is what the city Karachi has come down to that i don’t even feel safe to go out to the store just a five minute walk away to get my self a loaf of bread. last year around the same time we were making trips to the interiors of Sindh for flood relief efforts lead by Sana Saleem. Our volunteers were roaming all around this city collecting donations and buying relief goods but this year we are hardly there on ground, doing only what we can do under the restricted mobility and access due to the law and order situation of the city.

Karachi which used to be buzzing with eid shopping activities is as quite as a ghost town. And no I don’t really ever shop for Eid my self, so it’s not really about shopping , it’s about those bright smile and joy of the up coming Eid on the faces of specially Kids , the bright smiles at the bangles stall or at the mehandi booth or at the shoe shops where kids tryout those crisp new shoes, of all sizes and all price ranges….

But this year those innocent eyes are not shining bright with joy, but they filled with fear and sorrow..

The City I live in …

“Rio – The movie” Comes to Karachi

I am not much of a movie fan so when I first got an invitation to go to the premiere of “Rio The Movie” I wasn’t too excited. “The red carpet, celebrates, Ooh it must be one of those glamor events I dread to go to ” were my first few thoughts. But then I thought “an animated movie can’t be that bad” and this one thought proved to be a life saver.

As I entered the Atrium Cinema a huge red carpet outside the box office accompanied by a pair of beautiful macaws were all there to give everyone a warm greet. I was very happy to see these amazing birds, with their huge beaks and colorful feathers, matching the characters on the posters of the movie. As I proceeded forward some cool celebrities came in my view and so the meet and greet session kicked off. I Met Sania Saeed after months, actually the last time was after her katha performance, she was there with her mother and her two little angels, also present there was Tapu who is a big fan of animated movies was also present at the event and could barely keep his excitement concealed. I also ran into Khalid Anam who was stressing the urgent need to put a curb on piracy, and how its eating away our talent and our media industry, and i couldn’t agree more. We also exchanged a few words about the commercialization of our main stream media and how TV channels don’t often think of the deeper social impacts of the programs they air but we both agreed that some quality programs are also on the spectrum, we departed with a promise to continue the discussion in greater depths some other day as the show was now about to start.

Punctuality was the first lessen people learned as the show started sharp at the scheduled time. The comfy chairs, pop corns to pop in and soda to wash them down, cell phones switched off, 3D glasses resting on my nose, and every thing was off my mind, I was now completely in another world, The world of a blue domesticated macaw, living in Minnesota, and around him the story spins.

I wouldn’t go into the details of the story line, but I tell you what the movie is truly so fascinating that you will completely be lost in the story, you will laugh with the characters, you will panic with them, you will jump off your seats in excitement, and you will certainly cry happy tears because its just the kind of movie the whole family will not only enjoy but it will also rub off a little on them leaving its impressions for quite a few days and i bet you would want to see it not just once but a number of times and yet you will enjoy it just like you enjoyed the first time you watched.

As the movie ended, I walked out of the cinema my mood was completely lifted, I found the two macaws on the red carpet, but now i looked at them as a pair of victims, bound in chains for some money, and that is one of the strong message the movie quite efficiently delivers. Who ever miss out on this movie will sure be missing a lot of fun. and i Must say since the Cinema are returning to us we must also give it a warm welcome and enjoy the experience more often. but for those of you who still prefer to watch the movie at home please buy original videos because piracy is theft and a crime.

“Rio – The movie” Comes to Karachi

And this is what it comes to for a subject called ART

I remember when I was at school out teachers never taught us anything about fine arts, I was always particularly interested in paintings when at school but there was not a single teacher who would teach me how to paint or tell us about an art gallery. The only thing we were taught as children was to barely draw and all I remember drawing through my whole primary school life was parrot, car and a house with a tree. When we entered secondary schooling we were asked to draw diagrams, an outline drawings of different body parts or instruments out of physics and chemistry labs and like the rest of my class mates I remember I too used to trace them out of our books on our note books. In short throughout our schooling we actually taught nothings about fine arts at all, we did not knew what paintings were, we had never heard the word sculpture and we had absolutely no idea what so ever what Fine art actually was.

In college of course no one cared least to entertain such follies fine arts covers so actually throughout my whole academic life I was taught not a single word of fine arts. And this is not just me but almost 90% of the schools which at operating around the country specially the ones with the government teach almost nothing of fine arts to its students. The only art form we are taught of at schools is literature but that too is taught at such a superficial level that literality plays like those of Shakespeare seems to be mare stories and poems seem similar to nursery rhymes.

This means that our educated lot of people (and also the ones to come) are really oblivious of art, from any sense of design or visual harmony and incapable of appreciating any form of art. Which explains why a teacher at NED university teaching architecture rejected one of Piet Mondrian compositions (traced copy) submitted as an assignment by a student with a remark which read “Not interesting enough” and no the teacher did not knew anything about Piet because the next day when the student told his teacher that the work was a copy of “Mondrian” he was told ” I don’t care where you have copied it from but next time copy something which make sense ” … What else could possibly have made sense to him for a composition to be made only with straight lines, Only God knows.

The thoughts were triggered after visiting this:

And this is what it comes to for a subject called ART

“Difference”: A fragmented thought.

Would it have made a difference if we would all have voted ? I don’t think so, It wouldn’t have made much of a difference, but the need is to educate people so they can pick a sane man plus to tell them that they have a right to ask for their constitutional right, they have right to lodge a complaint or protest in case someone in power tries to take away their constitutional right. They have aright to question the people responsible to run the state affairs. And they have right to get an answer back as well.

Let me tell you a story, around 13 years back in an election a candidate of a certain party won the election, his only promises to the people before the election besides getting them their constitutional rights was “I will make two maternity homes for you people, one for the women and one for the men”….. Is that what people wanted from him?? a maternity home for men!! Actually Not, people did not knew who to chose, how to chose. The party they favored had given this freak a ticket so they voted for him.

It is sad that people have stopped questioning there choices, they have started taking every thing for granted. They have stopped voicing their concerns. They say we are just the people while they are The People of Pakistan.

“Difference”: A fragmented thought.