Lesser-Known Stories is the recent Curating Art project by Saima Usman as a part of her curatorial studies at the Konstfack University of Art, Craft and Design Stockholm, Sweden held at Botkyrka Konsthall on May 24th to June 21st, 2017. Saima who migrated from Pakistan to Sweden and explores the causes of immigration from Muslim countries - poverty or politics? She is not in favor of media propaganda about Islam especially the way as how Muslim women are considered in the west is not satisfactory according to UN human rights declaration and GDPs. Immigration or movement of people around the globe is necessary for sustainability, the right of practicing one’s own religion and freedom of choice should be highly appreciated. For her Art project of interest, Saima approached two Pakistani Artists, Shazia Farrukh and Khusro Sabzwari.
Shazia Farrukh is among of those artists who mostly work in a realistic manner, the nature of her brush strokes is very thin, elegant and vibrant. Often in her work, people can see not only the technique but there is an interesting story behind her miniature paintings. She mainly works on social and class issues in the society. Being a mother of a six-year old boy based in Stockholm, Sweden as she was raised in Lahore, Pakistan she experienced many new behaviors and circumstances in her life. After her graduation in Islamic Art and printing techniques, from National College of Arts, she started working as an Interior Designer and designed on the latest trends of ready-made Italian Kitchens in Pakistan. As she loves to paint her experience of diaspora she painted a series of Mughal or Persian miniature paintings in the recent exhibition at Botkyrka Konsthall curated by Saima Usman that was held on May 2017, the series of her work on Muslim feminism was highly appreciated by Swedish and Pakistani communities in Sweden. She worked on the given theme by the curator as the major theme was “Lesser- Known Stories, On the Reception of Muslim Culture in Sweden.” She explored the role and worth of Muslim women according to the guidance of Islam in the light of Qur'an and Sunnah.
In her painting, “What you did, what I did?” Shazia tried to explain about as many Muslims and Christian belief that the woman did the sin before the man and woman insisted on saying man to do the sin. She wants to nuance that if we read Qur'an, it totally opposes this concept and in Islam, it is clearly written that woman and man both confessed the crime and it is also mentioned in Quran that men and women are individually and separately are responsible and accountable for their deeds. Women and men are equally judged by God they are equal but not same. They are distinguished according to their body but not the deeds, rewards, and punishments. The same story is behind her another miniature painting called, “elements of origin” she describes that as in Quran God says that He created men and women with the same element, sometimes it is stated in Quran that God created men and women both with the flesh of blood. It clearly meant both men and women are equal in all the matters of life. In the painting “Sky is the Veil of God” Shazia wants to describe that all precious and wonderful things are covered and hidden and women should also not expose their beauty as they are sacred like even God is also hiding behind the sky. She gave an example that Sky looks like the veil of God. In Shazia´s painting, “Birth of a Mother” Shazia described that God has given worth to a woman as in Qur'an the whole one whole chapter is dedicated and named after the mother of Jesus Maryam. God in Qur'an Has never called any prophet with the reference of His parents rather than just "Jesus" as "Isaa Ibn e Maryam" that means Maryam´s son.
According to the teachings of Islam, all Muslims believe that they all humans will be recognized with the names of their mothers in the day of judgment.
Khusro Subzwari is a well-known international artist and clairvoyant based in Pakistan. His love with the poetry of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi was started during his visit to Turkey while he exercised with the practitioners of whirling Dervish in the Mosque. He could feel and understand the exotic way of self-recognition while paying full attention of the evolution of the universe and the small dots and circles that lead to the more and more journeys of the life cycle. According to Rumi and Khusro-Universe and planets are made to recognize God and the self-recognition is, in fact, the recognition of God.
According to Islamic Sufi philosophy, the stars and earth and all the planets are round and revolving around each other we the humans, are also the part of this movement or meditation. People who want to spread Love and humanity on earth are really close to God. The equal rights of Females and males are given by God to make this earth equally distributed to all the creatures. This universe is made up of tiny particles that science says atom or molecules and in the human body is called cells and nucleus, these all particles are very necessary to each other love and attraction is the soul of life. To lighten our heart, we should have empathy for others of any race, caste, religion, origin or gender.
Written by: Saima Usman
More About Project: click:
To listen Interview of the curator click on the link below: