Book launch & performance
The Gujral Foundation in collaboration with Devi Art Foundation organized a Book Launch of Anwar Jalal Shemza by Amrita Jhaveri and a performance titled ‘Taqseem - Writings on Partition’ by Manto featuring Siyaah Haashiay and Gurmukh Singh ki Vasiyat. The book launch and performance took place on 26th Februaru 2016 at 24 Jor Bagh.
Book Launch: Anwar Jalal Shemza by Amrita Jhaveri
Layering postwar geometric abstraction with Arabic calligraphic forms, Anwar Jalal Shemza’s rich and imaginative body of work is surveyed for the first time in this comprehensive volume.
Born in India in 1928, Shemza attended art school in Lahore, Pakistan,and was soon recognised as a leading artist and literary figure. He then moved to London in the mid 1950s to study at the Slade School of Fine Art, where hisart underwent fundamental transformation. His subsequent work in painting,drawing and printmaking rigorously deploys geometric and calligraphic forms to engage with dilemmas of identity, culture and place in the modern and contemporary era
Performance: Taqseem - Writings on Partition by Manto featuring Siyaah Haashiay and Gurmukh Singh ki Vasiyat
Performed by Zambeel Dramatic Readings - Mahvash Faruqi, Saife Hasan, Asma Mundrawala Direction and Sound Design: Asma Mundrawala
Siyaah Haashiay is a set of 32 vignettes, each reflecting ironical perspectives on human nature in the background of the Partition violence. Ranging from one page to a single line, these random episodes reflect chillingly, humorously or in a nonchalant manner the horrors of human nature during the Partition riots. Manto does not present a singular perspective by depicting a particular ethnicity or religion. Rather, he focuses on how human nature reveals itself in dire circumstances. Each episode bears a caption and the text is collectively titled Siyaah Haashiyay (Black Borders), referencing the black borders published in newspapers around news of a grievous nature.
Gurmukh Singh ki Vasiyat draws a silent and chilling picture of the circumstances of one family as it finds itself isolated in increasingly troubled times. Based in Amritsar at the time of Partition, the story revolves around the family of retired Judge Mian Abdul Hai, his eleven year old son and his seventeen-year-old daughter Sughra, who choose to remain in Amritsar despite the increasing tensions around them. As the city crumbles around them, so do friendships, values and communal harmony.