Posts tagged common ground
On reflection: The process
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What a blur. The only way this weekend can be summed up without me tearing up. A fucking blur. 

I've now come to understand the real vulnerability it takes to exhibit your work in the real world. The Internet can be a buffer of sorts, where you and your posi-gang of mutuals reside in a bubble. A safety bubble filled with unconditional love and admiration. But out there in the real world you're open to it all. Exposed to every element. And this is the thought that leads to my panic attack, 3 days before the exhibition is to open for the public. 

Let's go back in time, 8 months back to be precise. I get the email I've been waiting for. 

September 2017: Welcome

thank you for coming to the selection workshop for the barbican's young visual art group. we are happy to announce you've been chosen as part of the group this year, well done! 

I will be exhibiting work at THE flipping BARBICAN. Crazy. I don't stop smiling for a week. 

The first session comes around. I walk into a room full of eccentric characters; they all look like they should be in a vice or i-D column about the visual underground scene in london. I'm home! 

November 2017: Community

A few months pass, when we are given our first assignment. Responding to the word


My natural response: to write. A poem of sorts, called Rawalpindi Nights. About migrating from my town in Pakistan, to a suburb in London and feeling alienated, even after 13 odd years.  

March 2018: Brainstorming

I think back to Rawalpindi and all those years I spent there. The sense of community there and the lack of community I have experienced in suburbia can't just be down to "cultural differences." First of all, that's vague. Second, things aren't so black and white. What I don't want is a criticism of my experiences in suburbia, it is what it is and something I've made my peace with. What would be more fitting is a commentary, of my time spent in Rawalpindi.

I figure out my aim in this month: To embed something that is present in Rawalpindi, into London. 

April 2018: Developing

Festivals. The one thing that brings all the neighbors together in Rawalpindi. But festivals also bring communities together in London. Look at Notting Hill Carnival, concerts and gigs, the world cup. Alright, scratch that. 

There's something else missing. In the everyday. Something we do that lacks here in Suburbia. 

*cue magic light bulb moment*



Ever since I started planning, all I wanted to do was go to Southall to source all the fabric I'd need. I got a call from Mum who mentioned that my Khala (Aunty) had loads of stuff in her loft she wasn't using, and that she'd be happy to give it away. 

So on a Saturday evening in April I went to see a Khala who I hadn't seen in months. As soon as I walked through her door, the home's unmistakable fragrance hit me. A mix of laundry detergent and cooking, homely and welcoming. She embraced me, and I, her. After squeals of 'Its been such a long time' type conversations, we went upstairs to her loft. 

Up the sturdy steel stairs, now surrounded by exposed wood. The loft is busy, bits and bobs condensed to all four corners. Excitedly, we begin. Throwing all sorts of material in the bag. Neglected shalwar kameezs, shawls, bangles, even shoes, are flung into the now heaving bag. Khala goes to add more, to which I reply: 'This is more than enough!' The rest of the evening is spent laughing, catching up, sharing tales of a past life and hopes for what is to come.