‘The flying carpet fell on the third world road’ On the show UNMAKING HISTORY curated by Leila Rahman, Saher Sohail and Natasha Malik.

on a recent show in Lahore – unmaking history

Sehr Jalil | is there anything that is not art? | blog

The title of the show (art exhibition) is Unmaking History and it’s the first show that I’ve chosen to write on in this very independent platform as the work and the curation ‘poetically, historically and aesthetically’ – penetrated and perforated my mind. Leila Rahman, Saher Sohail and Natasha Malik borrowed the research and publication center in the center of Lahore from its director Rashed Rahman for this curatorial optimum. The space felt like a land mine of explosive underlying narratives where one step on either side, left, right, forward or backward, would cause an explosion in the air and new, buried meanings would emerge, impatiently waiting to be exposed. Rahman, Sohail and Malik were sophisticated and intelligent in their approach, the allocation of space and ongoing dialogue in-between works was overpowering. Like music, there were multifold layers to why this composition or curation worked – in-between adjunct identity, power, politics…

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Sehr Jalil | is there anything that is not art? | blog

I’m not new to blogging, I made my first blog in 2013 and have been consistent ( only occasionally cut off) since 2013 – though I was never comfortable in sharing my blog with friends and family except for the ones at home. I have been writing consistently for publications, national and a few international later on but in the ‘blog-situation’ the unknown, across continents and exchanging ideas and life with minds that connected …was/is beautiful – and that was enough.

This new blog that I’m ready to share with anyone and everyone comes out of a certain urgency: to trace and collect pieces, madness, joy and the dilemmas of art around me – to question ‘is there anything that is not art?’ – specially in the South Asian context and global if I’m somewhere else. I’m a contemporary visual artist based in Lahore, Pakistan who was followed by research…

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The dogma of creative controversy

Dear friends and readers. I will be writing regularly on all that is art …mainly from Lahore, Pakistan and otherwise if I’m traveling on this new blog that I recently made. Do follow my new blog as well and give me your feedback on this essay/ article. It’s on the recent ban on artist Adeela Suleman’s work in the Karachi Biennale in the context of creative controversies throughout the world.

Sehr Jalil | is there anything that is not art? | blog

Vandalism in the name of art – a news headline in Pakistan – an artist’s work banned in the current Karachi biennale – art intelligentsia and drawing room conversation. – Solidarity and unity in the Pakistani art community. This initial paragraph comes as a pre-text but is actually a post-text of an essay I wrote for a personal research. Artist Adeela Suleman reflects on the power of art and the fear it can instill, in her interview response to the destruction and ban on her art. She mentions observing the day-to-day trajectory of what is being done to her installation and how she did expect media attention but not a reaction from the state – as it was not a revolt but the ‘circumstance’ she wanted to bring to attention.  Creative controversy is a global dogma since eons but between all the solidarity and controversy I see a weaker link…

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The reasons I lost our Ray – Ban…

Reasons I lost your Ray-Ban :

The one that you gave to me


a gift.

A note.

A world.

A lens to see..

I remember you shouting my name from the other room.. I was doing some nonsense stuff on my laptop when you called, I ignored the first two calls and the third or fourth one became louder..

I got up..

a bit angry and irritant.. thinking it was a mundane errand…

I reached your study.. there you were in your sofa..

I said..

“What is it..?”

and you gave me your Ray-Ban …

“here, take this… Its for you..” you said..

In the genuine tan leather case..

I wore it.. It was just made for me.. I hugged you tight..

17 sep..

Reasons I lost your Ray-Ban ..

I don’t know…

I wish I hadn’t..

Not you..

..and not.. your… my.. our ….. Ray-Ban ..

I wish I hadn’t

2 Oct…

The difference between grief and Worldy sadness

You can make a tea pot of the mud with the grief you carry and the tea pot is infinite in supply.. You can create only good things with the pain you carry.. cracks and crevices can become miracle streams… sky and earth can change position.. the water and the wind may carry you like a bird or a fish.. You know how to swim and fly.. drowning and falling is not an option.. grief cuts the heart but there’s only love.. unfinished… pouncing.. infinite love.. that posts recent joyful group pictures on social media.. knowing.. that you are not there.. Why are you not there? Why? Where are you? Why did you go? Where did you go? How could you go just like that..
Worldy sadness is mud with filth.. You can never make a tea pot of it.. Its better to never even try..
~ SJ


Solo Show – Stray Reflections

Sehr Jalil

g8 cSTRAY REFLECTIONS DEC 23 2018 – 6 JAN 2019



 Artist Statement:

“Image-art, like love – is a place that you don’t resist – it holds, seizes you for newer visions. You scratch multiple layers of RED in your surface/life to find only more RED – You erase every tone of blue only to be lost in more blue. Everyday philosophy – life – is probably a “sacred lie”, or a truth that we maneuver every minute in a day – it hangs between imitation and reflection. We filter the way we ‘live’.

These recent works are sublime conversations or poetries, a restless dialogue with the fluctuating contexts of things –

Suspended, claustrophobic or bizarrely wild, miserable and devoted about how memory – place and object are inseparable –

History, geography, politics, art, legacy, symphony – even the ant on the…

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Light in my collar? 


light in my collar

Between owls of the sky and howls of the night..

Yellow ochre sunflower to poker..

Bees in a hive…kill to thrive..

You ask me

are you OK… ?

I say no no no…

With ugliness between continents and chains of television

With buttons and swipes

Reasons of reasons of reasons of no regret

You ask me

Are you OK ?

I say no no no no

You want me the sun I’m the moon..

Oh not even the moon for now..

Even the borrowed light is hidden in my collar…

I’m in no mood to unbutton and share

You ask me

are you OK..?

I say no no no no no no

You hold me in your arms.. you are my mother

You ask me are you OK.. I say yes..