Posts by Fatima Zahra Hassan - ZAHRA

Visual Artist/Educator/Consultant Asia, Middle East and North Africa

POP ARTIST MOAUD ABOULHANA: RECLAIMING THE FUTURE OF MOROCCO FROM ITS COLONIALIST PAST BY NIVEEN GHONEIM

Mouad Aboulhana delivers rapturous depictions of daily life in his native Tangiers, a city where the past and the present form a space-time continuum, using different mediums and techniques, such as stencil, graffiti, illustration, photography, and even video installations.

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Mouad Aboulhana delivers rapturous depictions of daily life in his native Tangiers, a city where the past and the present form a space-time continuum, using different mediums and techniques, such as stencil, graffiti, illustration, photography, and even video installations.

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Colourful ‘Jingle Trucks’ Rule the Road in Pakistan By Jessica Stewart on April 10, 2018

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If you’ve spent any time in South Asia, specifically Pakistan, Afganistan, and India, you’ve surely seen colorful, ornate trucks rumbling down roads and highways. In these countries, especially Pakistan, truck art is more than just cultural expression, it’s also a deeply rooted tradition that can cause a business boom for drivers. So what is the history behind these movings pieces of art? And what is the true meaning of the bold and beautiful designs that engulf these vehicles?

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In Pakistan, truck art has origins dating back to the 1920s, when Bedford trucks imported from England invaded the country’s streets. They were fitted with large wooden prows on top of the truck bed. Known as a tajor crown, the ornate prow was also accompanied by decorative bumpers and wood paneling along the cabin. In the late 1940s, when trucks began long-haul journeys to deliver goods, each company designed a logo so that illiterate people would understand who owned the truck.

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Over time, these logos became increasingly ornate. “They were badges of competition,” explains Durriya Kazi, head of the department of visual studies at the University of Karachi and an expert in truck art. “And the more flamboyant the design, the better business became.” In the 1950s, Karachi became a hub of truck art—a title it still holds today—when Hajji Hussain, an artist known for his elaborate palace frescoes, settled in town. Lacking palaces to paint, he turned to decorating trucks, and his ornate, floral style pushed the genre forward.

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And while truck painting has taken hold in other South Asian countries, as well as South America and Japan, in Pakistan the art form is at a whole other level. An entire industry unto itself, in Karachi alone 50,000 people are employed in workshops dedicated to the craft, with truck drivers willing to spend big money to ensure their truck is better than the rest. While the bright colours and ornate decorations are certainly beautiful, the drivers also view it as a good return on their investment.

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“Our clients want to make their trucks stand out,” shares Pakistani artist Haider Ali. “When people look to hire a truck, they feel that if it looks fancy and newly painted, then it’s probably in better condition and they trust it more.” Also known as jingle trucks thanks to the bells festooning the exterior, drivers can easily spend up to $2,500 for a basic paint job, which is two years’ salary. And often, they’ll come back for touchups every few years to keep things fresh.

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Kazi also sees truck art as more than a business expense; it’s also a ritual that harkens back to the Sufi tradition of painting shrines to curry religious favour. “Truckers don’t even spend so much money on their own houses,” she shares. “I remember one driver who told me that he put his life and livelihood into the truck. If he didn’t honour it with the proper paint job, he would feel he was being ungrateful.”

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In Pakistan, truck drivers can spend up to two years’ salary decorating their vehicles with colourful and ornate art.

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They’re also known as jingle trucks, a nickname given by American military in Afganistan, thanks to bells strewn across the bumpers.

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The art is seen as a business investment, as potential clients are more likely to hire a truck that’s beautifully painted.

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Truck art is also popular in Afganistan and India, as well as Japan and several South American countries.

More: https://mymodernmet.com/pakistan-truck-art/

 

 

Trees Grow from Bricks and a Storefront on the Streets of New York by Pejac by LAURA STAUGAITIS from CLOSSAL

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Elusive Spanish artist Pejac (previously) travels the world creating street interventions, often integrating natural elements into man-made structures through a combination of stenciling and trompe l’oeil painting. His most recent projects have brought him to New York City for the first time, where he has created two arboreal artworks in Bushwick and Chinatown.

Pejac formed Fossil, in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, using a brick-sized stencil to spray paint carefully placed shadows on a brick wall. This illusion of bricks sinking back and surging forward  creates a pixelated tree. Chinatown’s Inner Strength is fully hand-painted, depicting a cherry blossom branch growing out of a security gate and surrounding by flying swallows. Pejac, who often addresses humanity’s fraught relationship to the natural world, describes his newest artworks to Colossal: Taking a sturdy structure and familiar urban element as a base, Fossil is proposing a hypothetical fatal future in which the only memory of nature is the fossilized appearance of a tree on a brick wall. Opposing the first work, Inner Strength is an empowering piece portraying another hypothetical future in which nature breaks the barriers imposed by the hand of man, recovering the lost ground along the way.

In addition to his outdoor work, Pejac occasionally creates editioned prints using a variety of techniques ranging from lithography to screenprinting. You can follow the artist’s travels on Instagram and Facebook. For those in New York, Fossil is located at 27 Scott Avenue in Brooklyn, and Inner Strength can be found at 2 Henry Street in Manhattan.

More: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/04/trees-on-the-streets-of-new-york-by-pejac/?mc_cid=7ef2a4d03e&mc_eid=0636b89ddf

A Mughal copy of Nizami’s Layla Majnun by Ursula Sims-Williams – British Library Blog

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Some of our best-known Mughal manuscripts in the British Library’s Persian collection have already been digitised. These include the imperial Akbarnāmah (Or.12988 ), Akbar’s copy of Nizami’s Khamsah (Or.12208), and the Vāqiʻāt-i Bāburī, ‘Memoirs of Babur’, (Or.3714), to mention just a few. However far more works remain undigitised and many are comparatively little-known. Over the coming months we’ll be publicising some of these in the hope that people will become more familiar with them.

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More: http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2018/03/a-mughal-copy-of-nizamis-layla-majnun-io-islamic-384.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+asian-and-african+%28Asia+and+Africa%29

 

A Collection of 3,000 Pigments Made from Cow Urine, Shells, Insects, and More by Claire Voon from HYPERALLERGIC

The Forbes Pigment Collection contains samples of material that represent all shades of the rainbow — plus brown, white, black, and metallic.

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Nearly 100 years ago, Edward Waldo Forbes — art historian and former director of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University — launched into a worldwide hunt for color. From powders to plants, he assiduously acquired pigments and their source materials to establish an unparalleled collection of colourants. It is known today as the Forbes Pigment Collection, and it contains over 3,000 samples of material that represent all shades of the rainbow — plus brown, white, black, and metallic.

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The entire library of bottles and vials resides in the University’s Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, where they gleam in a modern displaythat opened in 2014. Although you can see them from a distance, the area is, unfortunately, off-limits to visitors aching to explore the shelves. A new book recently released by Atelier Éditions, however, provides an intimate tour of the collection that makes it more accessible than ever.

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An Atlas of Rare & Familiar Colour features photographs of over 200 colorants, accompanied by texts that chronicle their backstories as well as the history of the collection. They are captured individually by Pascale Georgiev as if they were lab specimens, neatly centered against a plain white backdrop. Like biological specimens, they have been preserved in glass, coaxed into cork bottles, medical bottles, and test tubes. And, just as bits of tissue can help scientists identify plants and animals, these pigments were — and still are — used as reliable representatives to distinguish hues in the wild.

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More: https://hyperallergic.com/426007/a-collection-of-3000-pigments-made-from-cow-urine-shells-insects-and-more/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feb%2026%202018%20-%20Gucci%20Runway%20Show%20Borrowed%20Beasts%20and%20Beheadings%20from%20Renaissance%20Art&utm_content=Feb%2026%202018%20-%20Gucci%20Runway%20Show%20Borrowed%20Beasts%20and%20Beheadings%20from%20Renaissance%20Art+CID_855eb492b36dd4f9bd9f3807a663948c&utm_source=HyperallergicNewsletter

 

 

Workers carry exaggerated furniture loads in Alain Delorme’s Totems photographs by James Brillon (from dezeen)

This photo series by French photographer Alain Delorme spotlights China‘s consumer society through doctored images of workers transporting teetering piles of furniture and other goods.totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_3totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_14totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_15totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_9-1704x1137totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_4-1704x2553totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_6-1704x1137totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_0-1704x1137totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_5-1704x1137totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_hero-1704x958totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_0-1704x1137totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_6-1704x1137totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_4-1704x2553totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_15totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_9-1704x1137totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_14totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_col_3totems-alain-delorme-photography-streets-china_dezeen_2364_hero-852x479

More: https://www.dezeen.com/2018/01/15/workers-carry-impossible-furniture-loads-alain-delorme-totems-photographs/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Dezeen%20Digest&utm_content=Daily%20Dezeen%20Digest+CID_c32b9b53b77c1f34d95853fca6835c39&utm_source=Dezeen%20Mail&utm_term=More

Flower Men That I Documented In Kolkata By​ Ken Hermann From Borred Panda

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Flowers are a hugely important part of Indian culture, used in everything from temple rituals to festivals and parties – and Malik Ghat flower market is the largest of its kind in India. Located in Calcutta, next to the Hooghly river, it attracts more than 2,000 sellers each day, who flock to peddle their blooms amid frantic scenes.

I got the idea for the project when I was there on another assignment some year before. I had a spare day in Kolkata and went to the flower market, its a beautiful and at the same time very stressful place – the market it one of the biggest flower market in Asia and is very busy.

 

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I got really fascinated by the place, especially the flower sellers got my attention. I really like the way they transport/carry their flowers, sometimes it almost looks like they were wearing big flower dresses. I like all these, sometimes strong and masculine men handling the flowers with so much care like it was their precious things.

 

I wanted to do the portraits on a plain and simple background so the Flower sellers really stand out, I like the way the different man pose with there different flowers – the masculine man and the beautiful flower.

Most of the people didn’t mind to have their photo taken, as long as it didn’t take long. All of the flower sellers were very busy selling their flowers and where very focus on not losing too much business while having their pictures taken.

Hopefully, people find the portraits interesting, even though some of the flower sellers are poor they are still very proud of what they do and I like that very much and hope people can see that.

More info: kenhermann.com

https://www.boredpanda.com/flower-men-india-ken-hermann/