KAZI Pakistan b.1955
United Kingdom b.1957
YUSUF PAINTER collaborated on making images on the cabinet
PARVEZ collaborated on the painting
very sweet medina (Home sweet home) 1999 (detail)
Mixed media including wood, synthetic polymer paint, glitter
perspex, wheels, speakers, tube lights, fairy lights,
stickers, folders, paper
Dimensions: Cabinet: 146 x 46 x 46cm; Painting: 183 x
Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
by permission of the artists
Very very sweet medina (Home
sweet home) looks at how ideas about home, migration, family
and art intersect.
The coastal city of Karachi
may be thought of as giving a microcosmic view of Pakistan.
The majority of its population migrated from India at the
time of the partition of the sub-continent in 1947. This phenomenon
- the migration of a large community - is a persistent motif
in Muslim history. The first in this sequence of events was
the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina
in order to find a safe haven for himself, his followers and
The title of the work Very
very sweet medina (Home sweet home) alludes to
this migration, which is regarded as the most significant
event in Muslim history - the Islamic calender begins from
the date of the migration.
The image of a home, an ideal
home, is familiar. Yet the home need not be confined to a
collection of built spaces. Instead, it is an embroidery of
hopes and dreams and family relationships. However, the idea
of home can also exist as a place of desire.
In the painting component of
Very very sweet medina, the truck artist Parvez paints
his imagined archetype of an Australian child in his garden.
The cabinet is illustrated with African safaris and other
adventures of which a child might dream.
Kazi and David Alesworth live and work in Karachi, Pakistan.
Both have degrees in sculpture from the United Kingdom
and produce work in collaboration as well as maintaining
individual practices. Since the 1990s, these artists
have worked together on a series of works exploring
participation and collaboration with a range of other
practitioners - such
as billboard painters and tailors - who make work that
is part of an urban popular culture.
Kazi and Alesworth's work crosses borders about authorship and
community, and draws on the dynamism of popular culture to investigate
definitions of cultural production. Often their work includes
an interactive element such as asking the visitor to write recollections
lines to follow for Durriya Kazi and David Alesworth
KAZI, David ALESWORTH and the Karachi School of Art
Art caravan 1994
Painted Bedford truck
Photo courtesy the artists
'I think you have to distinguish
between sculpture as defined by the art gallery and the rich
activity of 'making' which exists all over Pakistan. The so-called
classical languages of art grew from skills that were in common
practical use: metal, wood, stone, dyes, writing implements.
In order to renew the severed links of art to everyday life,
we must look into those contemporary skills that have the
capacity to become art. In a changed and changing society
these skills break the weak barriers between gender, class
(and thus taste), and technology. Embroidery, computers, fluorescent
tape or plastic as urban skills of our time are equally valid
materials as bronze, oils or acrylic were in theirs. If we
continue to use traditional materials it is only because they
still are in use not simply because they are traditional.'
Durriya Kazi quoted in Beyond
the Future: The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary
Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1999, p.206.