Stories about art

137th birthday: What Allama Iqbal’s poetry has taught me so far

“Maqsood-e-hunar soz-e-hayat-e-abdi hai Ye ik nafas ya do nafas, misl-e-sharar kia” -Iqbal (The real aim of any form of art should be to develop the longing for an ultimate life. It’s not art if all it does is to spark the feelings for a moment or two and then subside – Iqbal) Iqbal’s poetry, beyond doubt, goes in line with the above definition of art (hunar). Though I am just beginning to discover Iqbal myself, it is indisputable that his poetry has proven to be a truly transforming force. Some of his verses had an unprecedented and enlightening impact on me, helping me become ...

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Is fast-bowling a fading art?

Ever since I started following the game of cricket, the aspect that has fascinated me the most is the sight of a genuinely quick paceman running down from his bowling mark to rattle a batsman. I still remember the day I entered a cricket stadium for the very first time – early 2000 – only to witness the run-up of the legendary Waqar Younis. Although I observed the craftsmanship of Wasim Akram as well, the swift yet smooth approach of the other ‘W’ mesmerised me the most. I used to be hooked to the television screen just to see Waqar Younis running ...

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What is inside a woman’s heart?

Take a peek inside a woman’s heart, A cluster of emotions, God’s masterpiece of art. It nurtures, cherishes and cares in love, Nothing else does it place before or above. Regard your mother and her affection, For she will put your happiness before her own without any condition. Have you seen inside your woman’s eyes? Your attention is all she seeks; it is for you that she sighs. Value your daughter the same way as you would your son, Educate and empower her; she too can be a big gun, For your adoration and applause, she will always love you, As a daddy’s girl, she will make you proud which shall ...

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Art gallery in Ahmedabad attacked: Are Pakistani artists no longer welcome in India?

Radical Hindu right groups – like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal – are known for their hooliganism and rabid communalism. It is therefore not surprising that they vandalise paintings and other works of art as well as burn literature when they find them not subscribing to their taste and political ideology. The recent attack on the art gallery in Ahmedabad, where the exhibition of a Pakistani artist’s paintings were on display, is the latest in their long list of criminality.  What is surprising, however, is the silence of the mainstream and liberal India. Apart from normal reports in newspapers, no ...

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Imran Khan through the eyes of an artist

While the Jumma Hafta Art Bazaar that recently took place at a local cafe in Karachi, called The Second Floor (T2F), was a melting pot of compelling art pieces and vibrant canvases, the most eye-catching of all the displays around was probably the portrait of Imran Khan that Shanzay Subzwari was painting on the spot. The artist’s inspiration behind choosing that particular piece was pretty basic — the appreciation of Pakistani heroes. All of us are used to seeing objects, particularly politicians, in binaries; either one is Darth Vader or one is Batman. There’s no in-between. No one accepts them ...

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What 17-year-old artist Maliha Abbas has accomplished

Art is what gives a society its soul. It creates a shared communal feeling and transcends borders, classes and religions. If art gives society its soul, it’s the artists who give art its soul. The way they interpret things and put them on the canvas encourages discussion and forces us to reflect. Maliha Abbas Abidi is one such artist whose works inspire reflection. Not only that, she also wants to promote Pakistani culture to the world, teach art to students and be an artist, without entering an art academy. She also recently gave a TEDx talk in Karachi. And she is ...

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A tour of Sri Lanka’s history

One can recall Pakistani culture, when standing in front of the National Museum of Sri Lanka – the most beautiful and historic place in Colombo. The visitors always talk about South Asian culture and art, particularly, Buddhist art in Pakistan. Governments of both countries are also fostering a relationship based on the shared cultural heritage. Now, the High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo is taking steps to send replicas of key artefacts that can be kept permanently at the museum in Colombo. Watching the history of the Stone antiquities Gallery of the Colombo National Museum, I was told that it goes ...

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This is not a political piece, it is the politics of everything

This will not be a political piece. I stare at the word document as my fingers click to the beat of muted thoughts. No, I will not write about ongoing protests. This will not be another election monologue. People need a break from the prevalent hyperactivity. There has to be something worthy of being written that is not political. A copy of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas sits next to my laptop. Surely, the six narratives that weave the plot of the novel are not related to Pakistan. But part one of the book — Adam Ewing’s journal entries — circles around the ...

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Watch out! Video games could breed our own Breiviks

Norway’s mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, in an effort to ‘desensitise’ himself before going on his shooting spree, spent a total of 130 hours playing the video game “Call of Duty”, as revealed by the judge who sentenced him. This reminds me of my own 15-year-old brother and several other people I know of, who are not just fans of this game, but play it religiously. Is there a possibility of any of them turning out to be something like Breivik? It would be a sweeping generalisation if I say yes. But the idea of these games helping in the desensitisation of someone cannot ...

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The importance of critique from a journalist

As a new art and culture reporter to the scene of journalism, I admit I was a little overwhelmed by the situation. Covering events on an almost daily basis, I would find myself writing long praises for the work, event, organisers, etc. It wasn’t long before my editors started pointing it out and stressed on the fact that I must critique. At first, I felt this was unfair. Why critique the few people who bother to do something? Slowly and surely, I began to realise the real ‘culture’ of our society and only then did I learn the importance of ...

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