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Durriya Kazi, a seasoned Karachi-based artist, is known for her cheerful interactive public projects where she collaborates with other artists and craftspeople, vehicle decorators and/or cinema painters such as for projects like the Art Caravan, Heart Mahal, Arz-i-Ma’aud, Very Very Sweet Medina, and more recently, W-II - Karachi to Melbourne’. At the same time her areas of concern include the environment, urbanisation, and the ugly realities of war and violence. Her recent drawings shown at Chawkandi Art, Karachi where a hen is scared of her roost, a palm tree holds on desperately with its roots in the face of strong winds, a shocked flower is uprooted and sliced, were more symbolic images of the violence and anxiety we are forced to live with today.
For the Art Dubai fair, her entry Witness is by far a more direct and certainly an undisguised response. It is designed to provoke repulsion for war. It consists of life-size figures made in clay that are placed on the ground and left to disintegrate naturally or to be cleared away. It is her response to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and to victims of violence and conflict everywhere.
“Durriya Kazi’s practice is often thought to be involved with hybrid visual icons in the metropolis. This has certainly been part of her practice, often in association with urban crafts persons. Parallel to this, she has been immersed in wider issues of the environment and human habitats. All this is the background for Kazi’s work in Desperately Seeking Paradise.”
The artist’s statement reads as follows:
“It is speculated that since 3600BC the world has known only 292 years of peace. There is perhaps not a street, a forest, a field or a beach in the world that has no memory of at least one victim of conflict.
“To avenge the deaths of 2,996 victims of 9/11, well over 600,000 civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have paid with their lives. The name of each of the victims of 9/11 is known, memorials have been built and the site of the WTC remains a monument to their memory. Not so for the victims of Iraq and Afghanistan, ironically none of them had any part to play in 9/11.”
Below: Witness-2, clay