Have you ever tried to stare in the mirror to look for a clear reflection? Did that reflection satisfy you? How does the society react to that reflection? And is that actually your reflection or a “Mistaken Identity”?
These questions kicked me into deep thoughts when I came across a photograph at an art gallery that I visited over the weekend. Yes, a mistaken identity at an art exhibition that had profound meaning beyond the borders of the alluring canvas stretching deep into our society where every man plays a great role of a con-artist.
Let me put it very straight. Are we not the worshippers of cast color creed? Don’t we hide under the umbrella of nationalism, religion, ethnicity, sectarianism and the list goes on. Even for once have we tried breaking that shell, looking at the world with a more stable and tolerant mindset. People belonging to the Pakistan of today should practice doing that for once atleast.
The photograph has a girl sitting on her knees clad in pitch black dress with an offwhite background and a rope hanging from the top of the canvas to her face pulling a cloth. The intriguing element is the cloth
isthe flag of Pakistan. I held my breath for a moment, a Pakistani flag; yes it made me proud of seeing it on an international platform, what jolted my head even more, why the rope pulling the flag? It was titled, “Imprisoned in a Mistaken Identity”.
My mind was in a fix, the more I looked closer, the more I seemed confused and more the picture looked obscure. An enigma was attached to it. When found out, that the artist was a Pakistani national female, to be cheeky the artist being a she made me more like a detective to dig inside it. Asking a person in charge at the gallery, I got introduced to that creative mind that goes by the name, Zoya Tariq.
Zoya, in her early twenties, young and energetic; she revealed the thoughts that drove her in making such a splendid artwork. “This flag is actually the veil of ignorance that has been imposed on us by the hypocrite society; it has chained our minds, our lives to one specific road. Doesn’t let us explore or atleast wonder on other roads.” She indeed had an abyss of context in it.
Gazing into her shiny eyes, dressed up in red and black western attire, I softly asked her, “By putting the Pakistani flag, Are u targeting our nation only?” “Well, not really the Pakistani people, it could be anyone from any country, what matters is those false thoughts and beliefs that control the mind.” Her reply forced me to ponder in a more thoughtful manner.
She had a very pragmatic visceral approach.
For the few moments that I stood in front of that audible artwork, numerous thoughts kept hitting me one after the other. We were certainly a bunch of hollow human beings, having no idea of humanity, intolerant and ignominious having a thirst of revenge and vengeance on minor issues. Tales of injustice, poverty, illiteracy, corruption are to name a few diseases that our nation is inflicted of.
And every crime and atrocity that we do, we hide ourselves behind the name of religion and nationalism. Being unjust to the female brethren, the men with pride take it as a responsibility from the Supreme to make their lives an inferno. For questioning state institutions, we are termed as traitors. By standing with the minorities, the defenders meet the death foretold. The weak are stripped of their meagre living if they claim for their rights. It’s a land where might is right. Cunning and bigots rule the roost.
“I am an ardent lover of conceptual photography and it’s just a glimpse of what you’ve seen”,Zoya shrugged me off “Certainly, this glimpse is an abyss” I smiled back at her. No doubt she had the audacity and acumen; that the thought provoking exquisite photograph has made me write this piece.
As a nation, or atleast as a human being, we should get rid of the false beliefs and perceptions that we are chained with, be it with religion or cast color creed. Resistance powered with updated knowledge should be our weapon to fight such theories.
Kudos to Zoya, your artwork is undoubtedly an eye opener.