Tag Archives: Art

On Iqbal Geoffrey – Collage of life


Pakistani artist Iqbal Geoffrey is much more than a witty collage-maker: his world is, artistically and socially, a cosmopolitan one.


Image on the rigth: Self-portrait: Man of Steel Massage of Love.

IQBAL GEOFFREY is both a singular artist and a singular character. His work over the past 50 years has been marked by complete integrity and an artistic vision that is uniquely his own. There is no other artist like him in the subcontinent or, for that matter, anywhere else.

His critics may dismiss him as a witty and clever collage-maker but he is, to be sure, much more than that. He is not a hedgehog like the American Abstractionists Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Joseph Albers, Willem de Kooning and Jasper Johns. Of course, the collage is his mainstay, and that makes him as acerbic a social critic as Honore Daumier and Constantine Guy were in 19th century France. Unlike the above-mentioned Abstractionists, who did one thing very well, Geoffrey can be quite versatile when he wants to. This is probably because he has never ceased to draw human figure or landscape or, for that matter, objects, which usually form a part of his collages, though not always. He can, therefore, do many things proficiently. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

From A Rooftop Restaurant In Lahore

A View ‘Across Another Century’

The GT Road Blog

By Steve Inskeep

NPR correspondents are on the Grand Trunk Road. The team has undertaken this project to hear from “young people along one of the world’s historic highways.”

Today, we get to go along with the team to a restaurant in Lahore that offers much more than just food.

From Coo Coo’s Cafe, you can look back across time. (John Poole/NPR)

There’s no need to get into what we talked about. There’s time for that later, in a few days. Let me just tell you where we talked about it.

First we drove down Mall Road, a main street in Lahore. We passed gorgeous old colonial buildings from when the British ruled this city as part of India. Looking at the buildings from bottom to top, we could see that many start out stolid and British, with foundations made of stone and built to last. Then, as they climbed, we spied frilly archways and high turrets that seemed ready to float into the sky. Continue reading


Filed under culture, History, Identity, Lahore, Pakistan

Book: The Romance of Raja Rasalu and Other Tales

By Raza Rumi
Story telling has been a primordial urge, never quite expressed in its fullest measure, but always lingering and floating like life. There was a sub-continent before the colonial interaction that brought in its wake an aesthetic hardened by the industrial revolution and its uniformity of life and space. This was a world rich with myriad identities, of whispers and tales all interlaced in a peculiarly complex kaleidoscope. Since the 19th century that particular aspect of folk story telling and transfer of generational accounts gave way to what is now known as education and knowledge – instruments and reflections of power and a linear world view set elsewhere but adapted awkwardly to the local context.
This is why Simorgh Women’s Resource and Publication Centre in Lahore, under the leadership of Neelum Hussain, have undertaken the challenging task of reclaiming the rich heritage that lies in our folklore especially that of the Punjab. “The Romance of Raja Rasalu and Other Tales” is a stunning compilation of the romance of Punjab’s legendary hero, Raja Rasalu and, while it draws heavily on the colonial storytellers, the book twists the narrative in a manner that brings us closer to the origins of our cultural sensibilities. The tales are sheer magic. The romance, the intrigue, the bravery and the integrated nature of human existence where it finds communication even with birds and trees comes to a full life throughout the narrative.
It is one thing to produce an admirable compendium but it is another matter to ensure that the purpose and spirit of the tales are adequately reflected in the illustrations. This particular touch of originality is provided by the eminent artist Laila Rehman whose breathtakingly attractive illustrations add a new layer of meaning and sensibility to the folk stories. It is, therefore, as has been rightly stated in the introduction, a book for pleasure: a pleasure that moves beyond the immediate and the momentary and merges into the real or imagined pleasure of living. Laila’s paintings and sketches are evocative enough to generate a parallel story within the larger narrative. It is as if the reader is traversing into several worlds. One minute Continue reading


Filed under Art, Books, culture, translations

Appeal to the President of Pakistan

Dear Readers: Pakistan is under threat from a minority of radical extremists who have nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with grabbing state power and nuclear weapons to create chaos and anarchy in the world. My country has a rich history of music, dance, poetry, art and literature. All will be lost and more if the Taliban and al-Qaeda are not confronted decisively by the Pakistani state, army and its people. This is a letter to Pakistan’s president from an organization called Concerned Citizens of Pakistan. I hope it will enlighten you.  Salman Ahmad of Junoon. Continue reading


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The Shanaakht Fiasco



{I started writing this post before the [heart]Breaking News of the cancellation of the festival hit me. Despite my criticism of some of it’s flaws, I think that nurturing it would, over time, have had it evolve into something more sensible and sensitive. The closing down bodes badly for art and many other activities … but the organizers were left with no options, given the to-ing & fro-ing of the PPP and governmental commitments.}
The incident at CAP’s Shanakht Festival yesterday should convince people that all 17 crore hearts do not beat as one all the time. Oh, of course they do, sometimes. But NOT when an identity is being forced, instead of being allowed to develop. Continue reading


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Poetry in motion on roads of Pakistan

Bronwyn Curran, writing for The National

Picture above*

On Pakistan’s dishevelled motorways, the nation’s under-played poetic soul is on display – on the back of lorries.

The riot of coloured patterns, feathery chains and gaudy portraits adorning the heavy movers have made the popular old Bedfords a national icon.

Miniatures of the six-wheeler frescoes-in-motion sell in souvenir shops. Less famous are the Urdu couplets scrawled above the rear bumper bars. Some are witty, many are lovelorn, most are slightly self-parodying and all bring relief from the headaches of long-distance travel in a troubled land. Continue reading


Filed under culture, poetry

Pakistan’s truck art

The beauty of truck art

By Ali Usman

LAHORE: The art of decorating trucks, which is highly popular among truck drivers, can be used to learn much about the trends of various regions and the aesthetics of people of different ethnicities. Often, the art on the truck is a direct reflection of an ideology that the truck driver strongly believes in.

Drivers belonging to different regions and backgrounds decorate their trucks differently, often suggesting a pattern that depicts the culture, rituals and the ground realities of the areas that they belong to. The rear of the truck is often decorated in very vibrant colours and patterns, ranging from hot-pink cone-shaped trees to ancient tribal kings and queens.

The paintings and decoration on a truck can be used to tell which area the truck comes from, an experienced truck artist, Pervaiz, told Daily Times. “Most of the Pakhtun truck drivers demand paintings of sceneries, birds like chakoor and eagles and pictures of leaders like Ayub Khan and Imran Khan,” he said. Pictures of the film star Saima and pictures of Benazir Bhutto had recently become common among truck drivers, however, no current political leaders were being painted, he added. Continue reading


Filed under Art, culture