Writing Home about Home

International Diasporic Artists’ Residency

2008

with Monali Meher, Riaz Mehmood, Jeanette Gaussi & Khalil Chishtee

In an intense period of five weeks, in the mammoth city of Karachi, Vasl brought together four artists of South Asian diaspora. Monali Meher, Riaz Mehmood, Jeanette Gaussi and Khalil Chistee had their practice based in media and culture with personal and intellectual concerns rooted in a geo political context.

The idea of diaspora, home and location took center stage in the five week residency ‘Writing Home About Home…’, which was followed by an exhibition and an ARTshare talk at the Indus Valley School of Art. This included an elaborate discussion of artists’ works, which ranged from digital prints, found objects and multimedia installations to a performance piece.

The four artists engaged with and derived elements from the way art functions in the city – being the source of new ideas, whisperer of old relationships amidst new settings, and the harbinger of news from other worlds.

Riaz Mehmood, a resident artist who studied engineering before pursuing a career in art, found the residency to have “a sense of

freedom.” Mehmood discovered video and film and was instantly taken in by the various avenues one can pursue in that specific genre. Reflecting on his residency experience, Mehmood felt the link with a community of people who had the same goals and aspirations as himself and while Mehmood was learning and absorbing, he sensed being “a peer in the group and not a student.”

Monali Meher’s performance works followed a steady quiet pace and continued for long periods of time. The passage of time is as important as the message in her work. ‘I conclude my performance when I feel I have reached the state of mind in which I have found what I set out to look for’.