And the plot thickens..

5 Oct

Cranial Concoction continued

Growing up in Pakistan, a dinner time concoction is not all one internalises.

Every year, following a little after Eid-ul-Fitr is Eid-al Azha, and try as you might you can’t ignore the animals, the slaughter nor the smell.
As muslims we sacrifice an animal in the name of God and distribute the meat to the poor and rich alike to gain God’s blessings. That may be noble but it is difficult to get passed the adorable animals being slaughtered left right and centre.

red-head rideThe poser, Red-head Ride

As a child I tried to watch the process as stoically as i could and perhaps at some point in time i decided that i was strong enough to not feel much. [Until I realized i was not.] Regardless, you still wonder if its fair and voice your concerns to your parents and elders. So I did.

And i was explained that it is important to do so because these animals will carry us to heaven when we die. Now, in hindsight I understand that they meant the animals were a means to attaining a place in Heaven i.e you do good, you get rewarded.  However, since this conversation was almost two decades ago, through my minds eye I imagined the animals literally pop wings and serve as my ride up. Indeed.

Now, getting back to my latest creative endeavor, the Bahishti Murghi (heavenly hen) eventually dies, of natural causes of course, and it is faced with the conundrum of deciding on a ride to heaven. Needless to repeat, it is going to heaven since it ate the unidentified divine seed of the pomegranate. And since my story began on my dinner table back in Pakistan, my hen is invariably muslim, it has to chose between sheep, a lamb, a cow and a camel. The four most popular animals for sacrifice on the event of Eid ul Azha.

Henceforth my latest piece is an ode to the Ride-to-Paradise brigade.



Red-Head Ride enjoying a green meal

Red-Head Ride enjoying a green meal

Cranial Concoction

26 Sep

I am glad to be free of the pressure and the stress related to being in school and completing a masters degree. Researching genetic engineering and the possibilities of adopting biotechnology for my work left me a bit drained. Craving a break and a lighter subject i decided to shift to miniature painting. Now, miniature painting is no joke but it is a great means of illustration and my plan is to illustrate a little something I refer to as a cranial concoction. Simply put, it’s a story.

My story begins where a myth ends; it continues on from where fact and fiction collide.

When I was little my parents used several techniques to teach us etiquette and train us for life. One way was through the act of storytelling.

Lesson no. 1
Don’t waste your food. Its a blessing from God.

In this vein, whenever there was a pomegranate in sight we were told a story based in religion. I am still not sure of its source or whether it was fiction – probably a myth – but it is widely believed that one unknown seed of the pomegranate is divine. Anyone who has that particular seed will go straight to heaven after death, skipping hell and punishment altogether. The Moral being that one should not waste their food (especially if its a pomegranate) and  eat all the juicy seeds.

Now back to the story.

*Scene – Dinner table, 8pm, when I was much younger*

Bearing in mind the divine nature of an unknown pomegranate seed, a man decides to leave civilisation and the hustle and bustle of city life behind for one afternoon to be able to eat his fruit (pom) in peace, far away from the distractions of daily life. His aim is to eat every seed so as to gain certainty of paradise upon death.
Sitting in a secluded area, he cuts open his fruit and starts deseeding it. Happily, he starts eating it. In the process, a single seed slips from between his fingers and rolls a short distance away. Before he can make a start to retrieve it, along comes a little hen and pecks away at the seed.

*Shocked silence*

*Hen clucking*

*The end*

There were always way too many conclusions at the end of this story in my head. Should he have shared? Greed is a bad thing. One must not look for shortcuts to go to heaven. And always, my final and most obvious conclusion was Now the hen will go to heaven. Or will it?

My next series of miniature paintings start where the story ends. The Hen pecks away at a seed, possibly a divine seed, unwittingly paving its way to paradise.

pecking away..

pecking away..


Miniature Ready

24 Aug
squirrel tails and paint

squirrel tails and paint

mixing mixing mixing away

moving forward slowly and steadily in the miniature race..

moving forward slowly and steadily in the miniature race..

Now on the brink of application, i am slowly advancing, almost done with making the hues!


Naqqashi; back to the past.

20 Aug
Back to work

Back to work

Back to work, its a slow process.
But i absolutely love the process, the making, the preparation.
Here’s my checklist,

  1. vasli (ready)
  2. burnishing (done)
  3. drawing and composition (almost satisfied with it, though i have a feeling i’ll keep tweaking the curly clouds till the painting is sold)
  4. qalam (ongoing)

Things yet untouched
I still have to mix the colours

working the Qalam

My shift to London has me deprived of a few miniature essentials.
Need to go shopping for

  1. Magnifying glass,
  2. Black paint,
  3. Art card.

Time to get back to the drill..

Recipe for disaster: Guilty pleasures, Nostalgia and Proscrastination

13 Aug

Recipe for disaster: Guilty pleasures, Nostalgia and Proscrastination.

Recipe for disaster: Guilty pleasures, Nostalgia and Proscrastination

12 Aug

So school is finally over, i feel a bit too free, and i believe i have wasted more time than i should have. But in all fairness, there hasn’t been a spare moment. I have accomplished the Herculean task of completing my website.  Now its time to make some real work.

Studio, metamorphosing organic forms

Pomple, Pencil on paper, 97 x 70 cm, 2013

I am missing my studio and reminiscing, i have all these fantastic, mind-blowing ideas for work larger than myself but of course my lack of studio prevents me from executing all that is in my head (Hope you didn’t miss the inflated ego there). I have a feeling my brain deliberately conjures up these large scale ideas so as to keep me extending my break from work.

Note to Brain:
I am on to you! And just so you know, i am already contemplating two new pieces.

I miss! I suppose next stop  might be the London Print Studio. Sigh*

I miss! I suppose next stop might be the London Print Studio. Sigh*

Yet to be completed

Yet to be completed


Anyways, Back to the ‘two new’ pieces of work now, don’t want to spend more time blogging about work than actually making work.

Vitrine installation

22 May

Site-specific installation, Central Saint Martins, Window gallery B

Last minute tweaks..