Some personal – raw – RANDOM – artist statements from my sketchbook diary – 2012

Randomness is the core of what I do. Sometimes it’s so random that I get dizzy. I can even die of this dizziness. On one side there’s this form which is a cactus to me, it is filled with different landscapes, sea scapes and all sorts of geography…I took the pieces and joined them…I’ve made a girl sit next to them with a page in her hand but hardly anyone would notice the girl. There’s some sort of quest in this piece, some search, some longing in the process of doing it, it hasn’t been easy…but at times it has pleased me. No great process in nature is easy and pleasing at the same time. Pleasure and pain are best friends…they sing songs and go on long walks together. The world would burst and crack melt and twirl if pleasure missed pain or pain missed pleasure. I’m not sure about the blue it has a kid. My work reminds me of one. I’m an idiot. My work just told me. I walk through jungles and dive into oceans just sitting by my work…..while pleasure and pleasure wait for each other

Then there’s this merry go round on the black sheet…the light is finding its way out…I reached some celestial magic space when painting it. There was music in me and I could die with pleasure. It’s the state of being dazed that I want to hold…the state of going in repeated circles yet pulling of the perfect dance. It’s been long since I got dazed…Except while making this work..

That photo from 1917 grabs my attention for its diversity…And its political nature.. The three men ..British generals…sitting in the front with smirks and sticks. And the way the turban and caps pinpoint the difference of race and color…Plus it’s awe-inspiring that its 100 years old with my grandpa’s cousin in it. It makes me want to preserve it…yet play with the turbans and caps

The photos I was so done with…are black n white photocopies of photos I’ve used and seen over and over in my process of work and in the work! I had them in my journal and friends came and reinforced about how intriguing they are. It was judged as a great direction and a resolved piece… but id no intention of making it a work then…and after that day it became more important for me to declare out loud…that I am done with the old photographs…

The horse painted by nano is an incomplete painting of a beautifully painted talks about my grandmothers skill and the family interest in the glory of a horse. I want to make the horse run somewhere in my work…I don’t know where it will do that..

Bridge on water…An ideal that I’ve been inspired by very deeply since the past three years. Got books on it. Read on it and found out that many like me were intrigued by the concept of a bridge… an impossible connection between two points. A real fantasy…Almost a miracle i.e. being able to walk over water. Ive never managed to paint it or bring it in my work…every time…the books and words close and live within me…don’t know it’ll happen this time or not!

The blue sheet is a nicely colored sheet and I was thinking about using it for the bridge and water…


All I can do…

There is time and there are clocks. I wonder what the clock thinks about time and I wonder what time thinks about clocks. Every Jinni lives in a lamp or a bottle… all this ‘time’ lives in clocks, watches and pendulums, God they say, lives on the seventh sky, oceans are held in this sphere called the earth, rainbows are stored in smiles and memories, earth catches the rain ….. and you hold my free …mad.. your heart! I wish you had something better to do..but now that you’ve chosen it … all I can do is pray for you…  !

In Print: Sydney to Lahore

In Print: Sydney to Lahore

by Sehr Jalil Raja

“Do you know what a cicada is? Do you have them here? Ok”… he says in response to my blank face, pointing towards his shirt with an insect form logo that has large eyes and explains the name of the Cicada press, referring to how the cicadas are known for making a lot of noise, a rhythmic sound. Michael Kempson, visual artist and academic, is verily true to that spirit: collisions make noise like the exhibition titled ‘Sydney-Lahore: Prints from the collection of Cicada press and Saeed Akhtar Studio’, curated by Imran Ahmad and Usman Saeed. The curatorial brief mentions that “the idea of this show originated when printmaking graduates from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Fatima Saeed and Imran Ahmad enrolled in the Masters Program at UNSW College of Art & Design in Australia. With Michael Kempson, Senior Lecturer, Convenor of Printmaking Studies and Director of Cicada Press at UNSW Art & Design as their teacher, they invited Saeed Akhtar and Usman Saeed for Cicada Press Residency in July, 2013”.

The exhibition came just at the right time to break the silence in the Pakistani printmaking world, right before the opening of the 1st International Print Biennale Karachi 2014 at VM Gallery. The show comprises selections of both collections along with loans from a few other individuals.

A few minutes of intent listening to the exuberance and philosophy behind the collaboration are a jet ride through continents and eons. And particularly for me the most fascinating part is the ‘meaning’ of being an artist in the world now.

Reg Mombassa, a recognized Mambo designer, Australia’s most successful commercial artist and the mind behind the inflatable kangaroos at the 2000 Olympics’ closing ceremony and his character ‘Australian Jesus’ – founding member of ARIA Award-winning band Mental As Anything has his prints displayed at this show. The works are a new language, tongue-in-cheek but layered,

– See more at:

Studio Visit: Waseem Ahmed

Studio Visit: Waseem Ahmed

by Sehr Jalil RajaAs I stand outside a centrally located home in Johar Town, which acquires a personal aura and truth of material, there is a sense that I am already at home. The gate with raw wooden planks and brick elevation gives a silent comfortable welcome. I’m greeted by the artist and directed to the studio… upon entering the experience reaffirms itself. It is a square room with a large window, a large miniature desk-workspace with ceiling lights right in the corner-centre, a single comfortable sofa chair across it. His son’s toys are lying on the floor, while a traditional carved corner wooden shelf sets the mood – a sweet fusion – where on the other extended corner a large casual bookshelf is stacked with books, catalogues and a soft board opposite it with group pictures of shows and their invites.

Like Waseem Ahmed’s current stance, the conversation waves boundlessly where we contemplate, reject, accept and wonder over the contradictions and colors of society and art practice. Ahmed shares how during the Green Island International Human Rights Artist’s Workshop, Taiwan, in 2007, certain experiences were unforgettable; for instance, when during their presentations a French artist decided to address the audience in French and not in English although she could speak in English. It caused great dismay and difficulty because it had to be interpreted in English for everyone else. To respond the other artists did the same…they all presented in their first languages and refrained from talking in English. This example was crucial in pondering over how as people we could make things easier or more difficult for each other. “We were three artists from the subcontinent during that time i.e., from Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan and everyone asked us if we were from the same country; we appeared as one because we chose to speak the same language with each other.”

Contemporary miniature in the world now is getting undivided attention. I question Ahmed about its position as an art…it’s confrontational and powerful, unsettling connect with tradition/region and for once, being a contemporary painter myself…

– See more at:


pleasure without guilt

it is not as peaceful as it sounds

it is wrong that it is a white dove or a pendant like the Mercedes

it is not static or slow

clean or controlled

it is a mess

and all the noise in the world gathered at one point

echoes, screams, shrieks, squeaks, screeching giggles and tummy rolling, deadly laughter

it is hilarious

a stand up comedy where people stare into each others smiles from the corners of their eyes..

where tables are so used to roars

it is a plan to steal dads favorite pen when the ink of the pen before this finishes but not finding it and returning to ordinary

It exists in stealing and returning

it is non stop interruption

mom about her Urdu TV drama serials and brother about his future

cats who are always there to share food..

the single infuriating, sickening ‘fly’ who woke me up in the morning and didn’t let me sleep till I slept

and is still on my pen

it is writing about it and feeling like a six grader ..a school girl with black shoes and white boring socks.

it is right here..

from where to where ?


Just found this piece of writing in that old sketchbook. I’m surprised that it was 09 since I’ve been enchanted by the ‘bridge’. Sharing just-this piece of severely random rambling …which generally covers my sketchbooks; edge to edge! …


                                                   From where to where?






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