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July 30, 2011 / the s.a. project

the great jobless machine

Lali Khalid – her photo-transfer work is mentioned further ahead

So the naked article got A LOT of online attention. People love skin. That’s my Plan B for all fall-out situations from now on.

The past one month has been spent thinking about how godawful joblessness is. Try it. Lazing around at home isn’t as pumped up as it sounds. (Even if it’s a new place in Brazil) Blegh. I haven’t ever been without a job for almost 10 years now. I started freelancing (writing,editing,etc.) in the first year of art school NCA in 2001 and that was it from there. Overworked, spread thin and mostly underpaid I actually liked the last decade of my life spent doing 2 or 3 separate jobs at the same time and still managing to squeeze in some freelancing. Plus studio time and then the 2 year MA degree. The ulcer doesn’t sound so shocking anymore! After that fast-paced madness I feel like I’ve accidentally pushed the snooze button now.

I have however managed to write an article this month on the contemporary arts scene of Pakistan for Khaleej Times. They’re doing a Pakistan Independence day theme (August 14). I think I was relatively successful in holding back my usual dose of caustic soda. I think. I can always rely on the hatemail to tell me how ‘well’ the write-up was received.

I sent in a lot of images of young Pakistani artists who are making interesting and non-typical work. Only one or two images were supposed to get selected so I have no idea which they picked.

The title image of this blog is one such image. The other is this one on the above-left, titled 2573 Fair Ave, Ohio. Both are photographs by Lali KhalidThese and other’s from her recent works are a body of gorgeous photographs that are silent, poignant and extremely introspective.

Over the years, photographers have exceedingly turned the camera unto themselves and engaged in self-portraiture narrative. Because of this we (the viewers) have had the chance to look at the various insights that really truly capture the ‘personal and private’.

Visit the artist’s website and have a look at the beautiful Photo-transfer section, where the artist has used a transfer technique that she worked on for weeks. I bumped into her at the Printmaking department at NCA last year going through several trial and error phases. The end result was displayed at her solo show in Al-Hamra art gallery, Lahore, last year.

Coming back to me me me. I’m working on a show for the Asia House London. Or trying to work at least. Ordinarily, I would be VERY excited about my first show in London if it weren’t for the amount of obstacles I’m facing in making my work here in Rio. In Lahore I knew where to get my materials, where the best digital printing was, where I could get my own paper/postcards cut out. I’m LOST HERE. I don’t even have my digital video camera here and I’m proposing a video-based work. CRAP. The big *secret* performance plan is also turning to shambles because the proposed site and equipment is a local friend’s who is currently going through some emotional nonsense.

My curator is the very well renowned Deeksha Nath, who was incidentally part of the Younger Than Jesus curatorial panel. (If you don’t know what that is check out their site, blog and the brilliant book that’s available in the NCA library.) She is also the Desk Editor of Art Asia Pacific (New York) and ArtEast (Kolkata). All of this REALLY helps to add on the stress. I might get my ulcer a brother. or a sister. If Deeksha ever reads this before the exhibit is up….


On a very good note though, I have discovered the art shop from Heaven. And it resides in the Art College that looks like it dropped out of Heaven. I kid you not. The School of Visual Arts do Parque Lage Rio de Janeiro (Escola de Artes Visuais EAV) resides in a gorgeous heritage site that is a 16th Century building from the colonial times. The building itself is in the midst of a botanical garden/forest of sorts that spreads over 52 hectares. If you see the pictures here, you will die…like I did.

And the art shop, which was in the corridor left to this water body, had the most AMAZING art supplies and material I have seen in a while. I bought lots of delicious paper and heavy body acrylic. Unfortunately, as good as the material was, it was also expensive. Convert that into Pakistani rupees and it’s safe to say my account suffered a big dent. But it was so worth it. I think that’s how aunties back home feel when they buy a lawn print.

So yeah…I need a job.

Photo credits: Lali Khalid Website; EAV Website; random googling as usual.


Leave a Comment
  1. Randy Pena / Jul 30 2011 3:40 am

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. karachikhatmal / Aug 1 2011 5:27 pm

    do let me know when the london show happens – either through here or twitter. would love to visit.

    • the s.a. project / Aug 2 2011 8:08 am

      will do for sure! thanks for the ‘drop-by’.
      here take a tin of space-age e-cookies with you to share amongst our twitter family.
      find me a job while you eat one.

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