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Syeda Farida Batool is both an artist and art historian. She is assistant professor at the National College of Arts, Lahore, her alma mater, where she teaches art history, a subject she studied along with theory and research in art from the College of Fine Arts in New South Wales for her Master’s. She has conducted several community-based projects in Bangladesh and India besides Pakistan. She writes on different aspects of fine arts for journals, and has participated in a number of solo and group shows. She also makes short films on art and art-related subjects. Her entry is titled ‘Lahore is burning’.
“Farida Batool’s work has often emerged from her activism and her teaching. The fearlessness with which she incorporates the lives of battered women, street fighting and border conflict into her work makes her an obvious choice for the show.”
The artist’s statement follows:
“The image of my exhibit at Art Dubai is reminiscent of the mob violence that took place on Feb 14, 2006, in which beliefs were shattered, trust was betrayed and peaceful existence became uncertain. Then came December 27, 2007. Benazir was killed by gun shots and a bomb blast. Again Lahore was burning… The whole country burnt. And we were mourning.
“It takes a great deal of strength to be able to come out of the state of despair. But it doesn’t end there… Another massive bomb blast occurred near the High Court in Lahore, killing a number of innocent people. And two more on March 11. Numbers don’t count any longer. Numbness is engulfing my body. Slowly, slowly as if the doctor is injecting anaesthesia in my veins. Soon I shall fall asleep. Let me sleep. I want to dream. …Nain reesan shehr Lahore diyan! (No place like Lahore)”
Top: Nain reesan shehr Lahore diyan I, IV (No place like Lahore), lenticular prints