Abdullah Qureshi, Aziz Sohail, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr. are collectively redefining what it means to be queer and Pakistani.
In Nashra Balagamwala’s board game, players are teenage girls pursued by an aunty who wants to marry them to any boy she can locate.
This week, Pakistani high schools are distributing comic books that authorities hope will dissuade at-risk teenagers from joining militant organizations like the Taliban.
A union of hashtag activism, street art, and drones hardly portends an outcome of substance, but a rare exception has surfaced in Pakistan, where a collective has unveiled an athletic-field-sized poster meant to attract the attention of American drones operating in the country’s volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.
Divya Mehra and I met briefly, almost in passing at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada a couple years back. In what seemed moments we were arguing about the role artists have in society, and the problems and difficulties of institutional support. This quickly led to a deep respect for Divya and her work.
Facing criticism and threats from hardline Islamists, the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, has shut down an academic journal that published a series of homosexually suggestive paintings. The college pulled the issues from bookstores and dissolved the journal’s editorial board, but that board and the head of the school, as well as an art critic who wrote an accompanying essay and the artist, still face a potential lawsuit on charges of blasphemy, the Associated Press reports.
I encountered Dread Scott’s curious flag project, “Flags Are Very Popular These Days” (2011), on Facebook and was fascinated by its simplicity. Last month, the artist placed the flags of four nations (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan) on overpasses in upstate New York. These symbols of pride for four Muslim-majority countries— two of which America is currently (and officially) at war with — must have felt jarring to passersby who may not have been able to recognize their meaning or discerned their origins.
When people start telling other people what they can and cannot draw then we have a problem. Yesterday’s “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day!” made it clear that some religious fundamentalists need to be told to mind their own business and stop policing other people’s culture.