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Inam raja is no more
I am shocked to know about sudden demise of Inam Raja, one of the most well known artist of Pakistan. I knew him and his work since my teenage from my passion to read subrung digest, the only one we used to wait and read.
From it's writing we developed a taste of literature and from it's pictures and drawing done by Inam Raja, we developed a sense of art. Reading subrung digest was a part of romance of our teenage life.
Last year I developed a friendship with him through Facebook and was excited to be a friend of someone whom I had been admiring since my youth.
Soon this Facebook friendship developed into a relationship in which we used to call each other's and talk on art and social issues.
He did discuss his health issues with me and I was concerned about his blood pressure and diabetes.
I must say that I learnt a lot about artistic aspects of photography. He would give his critical comments on a call or a personal message.
For me he was a friend, a mentor and someone I idealized through out my life.
Inam Raja is dead and with him a part of my childhood as well.
God bless him.
#art #painting
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5/1/18
16 Photos - View album

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From cradle to crater
Puffing at a cigarette dangling from his thin lips, the man appeared to crawl on his rickety legs on the pavement; threading his path through the people. A swarthy complexion with worried look on his wrinkly face, few wisps of hair falling from sides of a bald shiny pate, belly bulging over the belt of trousers, holding a bag in one hand while the other arm was swaying with an irregular rhythm. He seemed to be inching towards the other side of horizon.
It was a cloudy morning in early April, with a nip in the air when I spotted this man while going on towards my job.
For a flash of second, the look of this mysterious man gripped my attention. Oblivious of his surroundings he seemed to be moving towards where ever he was supposed to be. His weather-beaten appearance suggested a life spent in unending misery, unable to indulge in any luxury. After spending a whole day in some drab job, he would go back, exhausted, maybe indulge in some sex to relieve his daily fatigue and then drop on the bed for a fitful sleep in order to rise again early next morning for another insipid day of his life.
For some unknown reason, he seemed to be the very antithesis of all those notions about nobility of human race and of any higher purpose of life.
On looking at other faces shuffling along the road, it appeared that everyone had the same anxious look of carrying the cross of their apparently meaningless existence.
In that moment it seemed the whole humanity is nothing but a farce and all those lectures of morality, religion and philosophy are nothing but attempts to embellish for what is a pure animal instinct to survive and procreate; at least for billions of people struggling to keep them afloat above the line of poverty.
Then suddenly I realized that I myself was doing the same thing and for them I too, might appear like another insignificant creature on the surface of this earth. Horrified, I tried to look away but the feeling was too strong and for some quite some time, I felt a creep, an eerie chill going down the spine.
A moment of translucency when everything appears absurd. All the sermons of moralists when they preach of some grand design in this universe seemed gibberish, a nonsense talk of those who themselves are as ignorant of this universe as their followers are. They just keep on repeating what they heard from someone else like them.
Was it a moment of truth?
It is a typical scene of a metropolis, a mass of homo sapiens on a daily routine of trudging along to earn two square meals a day, by all means fair and foul; to get the maximum in the shortest possible time, cheating, fighting, deceiving and gnawing at each other’s in this rat race. All doing the same things throughout their life, without knowing why.
Generations have perished after living the same termite life while many more would come to follow the same path, groping along in darkness from cradle to crater; ultimately stepping out of the way for the next generation of their species to do the same in their own life.
Is there really a sense in this drama of life or all these talks of a higher spiritual realm are mere attempts to glorify this humdrum existence. Despite all those religions, philosophy, art and science, the fact remains that primarily we live by physical instincts like all animals and by doing so rapidly destroying our own resources, destroying all other species while at the same time making this earth inhabitable for our own survival. Billions are perishing due to hunger, disease and natural calamities while a tiny minority wallowing in pure physical pleasures.
Artistic and aesthetic pursuits seem a luxury of lucky few who have spare time and extra money to afford. For the rest of human race, life is a continuous drudgery sprinkled with isolated moments of sensual experiences.
Is there really a method in this madness? Was it a moment of truth?
Did the Jean-Paul Sartre had the same experience when he said “Man is a useless passion. It is meaningless that we live and it is meaningless that we die.”
#pakistan #art #life,
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Pakistan: Land and life
This is the title of first solo exhibition of Sharjeel Anzar, held in PNCA (Pakistan National Council of Art) Islamabad.
Driving for 30 km in inclement weather with torrential rain pouring down, it was an evening well spent.
A pleasant surprise to look at the pictures representing almost all genres of photography and a pleasure to know a multi talented person, a bureaucrat, artist, poet and a music aficionado.
The pictures gave a panoramic view of our rich culture (or what it used to be), varied in themes and composition, with a common denominator of a deep love for the land and its people. In vivid colors, they portrayed a land of joy, peace and love.
A photograph, may appear a random click to a causal onlooker, but it carries an unmistakable signature of the artist, revealing inner depths of his/her subconscious. A picture is the gist of all the life experiences of an artist, of books read, of music enjoyed, of movies watched and even of all the dreams, ambitions and frustrations of life. This collection revealed depth of literary and aesthetic sense of a mature artist.
However passing through the riots of colors and lights depicted in pictures, one could see a deep down nostalgia and a touch of melancholy. A yearning to run away from the rush of modern cosmopolitan life and take refuge in those times/ places where pace of life was slow and simple.
To capture the rapidly changing values, customs and life style of this land seems to be a desperate attempt to catch hold of fleeting sands of time. Exhibition looks like a dirge for lost innocence, of what this land used to be once; a hankering for reversal of all the degradation of materialism.
In landscapes, a lonely figure lost in grandeur of nature or in the gathering dusk, melting in fading colors and light reflects the deep down melancholy characteristic of a poet and a romantic by heart
A poem of Sharjeel Anzar may have been another good title for this exhibition

I am in mourning
For the poems I could not write
For the dreams I could not carve
For the women I could not love
I am in mourning

Is he really in mourning for this land and its people?

#pakistan #punjab #art, #photogrpahy
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4/17/18
23 Photos - View album

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An honor for me
A new photography magazine by the name of 'Shades of color' has started with +Jean Michel Missri as its chief editor.
In its very first issue my interview along with 18 photographs have been published as a featured artist along with international photographers like Adrian Donoghue, Anthony Million, Mark Hilliard, Jeff Pedersen.
The magazine has announce me to be a regular contributor for them.
The online copy is available for 7 Euro, if you are interested to have a look at the work of international artists
https://shadesofcolormagazine.com/
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Street photography: A hot debate
My article has been published in international photography magazine, 'Shades of Grey'
The article elaborates on various issues and debated in relatively less pursued genre of art in Pakistan.
http://shadesofgreymagazine.com/street-photography-a-hot-debate/
#pakistan #photography #streetphotography
Street Photography: A hot debate
Street Photography: A hot debate
shadesofgreymagazine.com

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Zahoor Salmi
Zahoor Salmi (renowned Pakistani wild life photographer) with his companion Farrukh Shahzad passed away in a jeep fall near Batagram last night. Dead bodies recovered by forest officer Batagram.
God bless them. A great loss for Pakistan.
انا للہ وانا الیہ راجعون
His interview with ATV included. Look at the beauty of Pakistan through his eyes. For sharing this interview I am thankful to Zagham Awan, director ATV
#pakistan ##ripzahoorsalmi #khurramshajzad
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3/3/18
2 Photos - View album

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Art and the stress of life
Continuous stress is the worst curse of cosmopolitan life in modern age of capitalism. Something from which people seem unable to disconnect. Even while enjoying vacations in solitude of nature, they are unable to 'let go', unable to set aside things like job stress, professional targets, productivity, calculations of profit/ loss and organisational intrigues.

People are commonly seen in parks, restaurants, airports and hospitals; stressed faces with taut muscles, buried deep in their laptops or cell phones; checking work mail, being accessible to others at a distance while oblivious of their surroundings.

As a result, they are unable to relax and fully appreciate the precious fleeting moments and what might be the most beautiful and rewarding life experiences.

Can art play a relaxing role, soothing injured, stretched nerves?

If so, how?

Susan Sontag has an answer. In one of her article on photography, she mentioned:

"Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures."

I agree with this apt comment. In fact the same can be claimed for all types of art. However the problem is, what to do for people for whom art itself becomes another rat race to excel. Another tension, another cause of anxiety for a workaholic. New reasons to be jealous, to fret over missed opportunities, and another set of unending targets.

Art becomes another cross to carry, a proverbial straw on the already over burdened back.
#pakistan #art #photography #stress #life
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Illustrated talk on city
An international conference is being arranged by THAAP (Trust for Heritage, Art, Architecture of Pakistan) and Government College University Lahore.
In this international conference, I have been invited for a presentation on the above mentioned topic. My sub theme would be, Posters, graffiti as elements of photographic competition. I would elaborate on how these can be used in photography to create meaningful images
The presentation would be in Government College University in evening session on 11th November 2017. It would be followed by a photographic exhibition.
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Nicola Davison Reed
+Nicola Davison Reed, a professional photographer is known for her thematic and surrealistic work in monochrome. She is one of those few whom I admire and keep on checking for learning and new ideas. It is very kind of her that she consented to answer my questions despite her numerous family and professional commitments.
Enjoy her artistic and aesthetic vision at

https://monastry.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/nicola-davidson-reed/
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Vineet Sharma
Indian photographers have done an amazing work to preserve and present culture of subcontinent as multi-cultural, multi-racial vibrant society.
One of the emerging prominent name is Vineet Sharma from Varanasi. In a candid interview he shares his social and artistic vision.
Let us enjoy his thoughts on the following link
https://monastry.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/vineet-sharma/
#art #photography #india #pakistan
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