Oman times 1- the start.
I went to Lahore to find him. Over the course of the years, I lost my father. I could not remember him. I could not remember a good moment, a smile… nothing. I found his youth, his passion, his memories and his love in Lahore. My pieces depict moments of him, Lahore.. I imagine he walked the streets I walked, smelt the air I smelt and felt the same sensation as I did when I visited Lahore. I don’t feel this at his grave.The artworks are haphazard, like my emotions, completely volatile. The mediums are reflective, calm and gestural. They are pieces of my father in me, from me.
I am standing in a sea of 400 people at the Bait Al Zubair Museum, Oman. Been graciously invited by Mr G himself, you can imagine my shock when he inaugurates the Omani Cancer Foundation 100 x 100 exhibition with my artist statement. I look like a beautiful mess.
In Bahrain, humidity attacked my hair so it went from curly to fro- I took drastic measures, straightened my hair in the Dilmun Lounge at the airport. I changed in a bathroom cubicle in the museum and did my makeup in less than three minutes. I walked out thinking, I did it.. I am composed. Until the speech started.
I felt a lump in my throat and my tears starting to slowly swell up. The gentleman next to me is already crying cause he remembers his mother. She died from cancer. I look around me and I realize everyone here has been affected by cancer. They feel my pain.
Selfie Time!!!… perhaps one of the few times I’ve ever taken a selfie….
I meet this lady who is oddly wearing a shalwar kameez- she is not from Pakistan and she is with a man who is wearing a light blue suit with a hat. We start talking and I explain to her that I have flown in from Bahrain to exhibit three pieces which are dedicated to my father. I tell her about how I flew back to Lahore to find my father and how I have no happy memory of him.
Ribbon is cut- the sea moves in. I’m trying to find my work. Three paintings in watercolor, gouache, pen, ink and outliner mounted on deep blue boards sizing 50 by 50 cm. I find them tucked away behind a column and I get pissed off– they should have been in the front. I try not to get upset. I should be gracious, i’m exhibiting outside of Bahrain. I take a walk around to see.
Every wall has this sadness with it- artists are waiting to be asked about their loved ones- they want to miss them. Some art is serene and peaceful like they have accepted this loss and some are chaotic and visually upsetting- I guess they are angry. I’m back at my column and I see three red dots next to my works.
turned out- that really cute couple I was talking to outside were so intrigued by my search for my father- they immediately went to my work and purchased it. They were standing there waiting for me. she said…’I…I bought your work’… I hugged her, gave her a kiss and starting crying.
she took a piece of my spirit. I left to the airport and was on cloud number nine. No, I was not emotionally rapped this time. I was charged. I had a new found energy and boost to my ego.
A stranger loved my art.