State of Being So Divided

Regional Artists’ Residency


in collaboration with The Citizens Archive of Pakistan

with Ahsan Jamal, Ayub Wali & Yasmin Jahan Nupur

State of Being So Divided was organized by Vasl and The Citizens Archive of Pakistan. The participating artists Ahsan Jamal, Yasmin Jahan and Ayub Wali focused on the theme of civil war, partition and conflict within South Asia – casting a broad view over development of the nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India since Partition in 1947. The artists developed their work based on CAP archives, dialogues with citizens and personal research across Karachi. The work created during the residency was showcased at the VM Art Gallery.

Ahsan Jamal, a miniature painter, brought personal and familial narratives into the program, examining the events of 1947 in light of his father’s poetry, who witnessed the division of Punjab in 1947. Ayub Wali is an artist from Gilgit-Baltistan – a province that joined the Pakistani state in 1948 and has struggled to find an identity within the political organization of the country. Through his installations, he brought a unique perspective of conflict during the partition of British India. Parallel to the VM Opening, CAP showcased a chronological display of archival materials representing Pakistan’s development between 1947 and 1971. The exhibition at the IVS Art Gallery opened with Zambeel Dramatic Readings Shigaaf, a performance commissioned by Vasl. Zambeel members Mahvash Faruqi, Saife Hasan and Asma Mundrawala presented theatrical performances based on The Body by Afsan Chowdhry and Tishnagi by Masood Mufti.

The catalog produced during State of Being So Divided included commissioned artworks, essays and curatorial texts, along with artist pages, literary additions and archival materials that broadened the scope of the program.