Stories about art

Lush language: new words for a new generation

Time is short. Life is full. Too much to share. Let’s micro-communicate. Say it all, in a few words. The new micro-lingo seems to be a word-conservation drive, where you pack a lot of meaning into a few catchy memorable words; this language sticks in the mind like no other. It’s entertainingly expressive, creatively concise and just flows fast and runs deep. Read on to see how. It’s where the punch is “I dined out at this new restaurant. What wah wah food they had there.” “I went to this concert. What wehshee music. Uff I loved it.” For the uninitiated in the ...

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TR = Terror

You’ve heard the rumors: literature is dead, libraries are museums, reading is an outdated practice, and writers are beggars. But, gentle readers, let me assure you, the truth is as ever: people love their writers — and today more than ever. In fact, today’s readers love writers so much, so intensely that they want them to be more than just writers. They want them to be their mystics, oracles, psychics, visionaries, political experts, policy makers, cookie monsters, cuddly bears, bffs, everything — that is, everything but writers. And most writers are like attention-famished kids who have managed to trick everybody ...

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When you run out of words

If you live in Pakistan, news mostly constitutes of bomb blasts, terror attacks, bomb threats, terror threats, threats in general, people dying, trying to die, failing to live and a whole array of soul-crushing unpleasantries. Why, then, the need for design? Why add the superfluous to poker-faced horrors? It’s serious business, news is. A pink coloured report on how many people died in a particular bomb blast trivialises its seriousness. How would you react if your ailing grandmother decided to wear a Hawaiian hula skirt on her deathbed? This is mostly what I get to hear when I tell people ...

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Sunsilk fashion week: Fashion loves drama

The Sunsilk Fashion Week in Lahore was held at the Expo Centre. It was a spacious venue and ideal to promote the professionalism that is meant to accompany Fashion Week. Attendees were a mix of industry professionals, local and foreign media, retail buyers, designers’ clients, families and friends, with appearances by local icons like US Consul General Carmela Conroy—resplendent in an HSY embroidered gown—Samina Peerzada, Tahira Syed and designers Umar Sayeed, Rizwan Beyg et all. Happily, the number of sleazy uncles attending to check out models has reduced considerably from preceding years; perhaps this has something to do with the drive through jam-packed traffic ...

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The silent painter: Shakir Ali

To Lahoris today the building across the street from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is a familiar sight. When it was first built, however, the passers by tended to stop and wonder what the structure was meant to be. The outer walls had over-burnt bricks laid apparently by poor craftsmen. Those who ventured inside were further amazed that a home could be so different. But then so was the man who built it for his residence. The place was Shakir Ali’s home. Earlier, he had treated the National College of Arts as his home and been content amidst its students ...

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Revival of baithak culture

Those lamenting the loss of the Pak Tea House in Lahore, look around you. The baithak culture is back. Baithak: a place to sit, eat, share ideas, create change, and most importantly, a place to just be. The trend is not just to have a restaurant, a cinema or a book store, but to have an amalgam of these under one roof. They are not exclusive clubs but open houses, requiring no membership, nominal, if any, entrance fees and operating on a first come first serve basis. Designer outlets like Melange now house cafes on the side, as do art galleries like Nomad; similarly, ...

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Dubai: Something for everyone

Contrary to popular opinion, a visit to Dubai is not just about  endless sales options, the occasional desert safari and a visit to the top of the Burj Khalifa. There is a lot to do for everyone. My favourites remain the musicals and plays which are organised by English, Indian and Pakistani entertainers. Multicultural audiences draw in entertainers from all over the world, and Dubai is no exception. The question is: which of these makes Dubai interesting for you? Rocker: Recently, Bryan Adams and Guns ‘n’ Roses rocked the UAE music scene. This was followed by a jazz festival that would regale any ...

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Long live Lollywood!

Lollywood originates from my hometown of Lahore. My childhood consists of vivid memories of Royal Park – unique as a glittering place – mesmerising me each time and offering escape from reality. However, the place has changed over the years and so has Lollywood. Who is to blame for the decay of Lollywood? The answer, simply, is filmmakers. Many have said that Lollywood needs a lethal injection to die once and for all as it couldn’t revive despite bans on foreign films, tax waivers, special grants and receiving the status of an industry. However, there’s always a flip side to the story. ...

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Imitating art

I was at the Karachi airport, waiting, and then from the blessed corner of the lounge where several rosaries were placed on a long prayer mat the azan was called. I welcomed it as an omen that the departure of my flight was about to be announced. But this azan too did not herald the awaited prize. No announcement followed. Depressed, I remarked that this was the third azan I had heard being called while I sat in the same seat. “Just the third?” the passenger sitting next to me asked. “It is the fifth I have heard. That is how ...

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Pakistan army and the latent power of cinema

It’s safe to say that as a nation we don’t believe in the power of cinema. While it’s true that currently Lollywood doesn’t offer us much in terms of cinematic thrills, it doesn’t mean it has lost the power to deliver. Recently, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in collaboration with a private production company launched Faseel-e-Jaan Se Aagay, a drama series based on the true stories of the brave Pakistanis who stood firm in their fight against terrorism. The principal objective of this drama series is to pay homage to those who sacrificed their lives in the name of their ...

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