Back to the Moment of Promise – ‘Azadi’ (freedom) Series of Art Work by Shahid Mirza

Artist Shahid Mirza’s Azadi Series is a set of seven mix media paintings illustrating different aspects of our ‘freedom’ from British rule in the 1947 partition of India. From the direct, explicit and in-your-face bloody history of our colonization to the fading shades of secularism in Pakistan, these paintings invite us to contemplate on ourselves post-partition.

Choice of mix media creates the eerie feeling of contemporality within the historicity of the past. With each of these paintings, the Artist tries to bring us back to that moment of promise when freedom from colonization and sectarian bigotry seemed possible; when millions of lives were lost to achieve it.

By bringing us back to that moment of promise, the Artist encourages us to confront our own concepts and constructs of ‘freedom’ before we go on and congratulate ourselves on the continuation of the hollow and shallow facade of celebrating August 14.

azadi-1a-shahidmirzaAzadi 1
Blood-letting of the powerless.

azadi-2a-shahidmirzaAzadi 2
Destruction of life by agents of the state.

azadi-3-shahidmirzaAzadi 3
Changing positions of (Muslim and Hindu) power-brokers.

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The deadly religio-spiritual antagonist.

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Sectarian violence.

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Early faces of hope.

azadi-7-shahidmirzaAzadi 7
Freedom for who?

Created after the formation of Bangladesh, Bhutto’s assassination, Zia’s Islamicization, and Pakistan’s Talibanization, Azadi Series displays the history of partition in the context of today, and, in bringing the past into the present where we continue to suffer from the same but intensified problems of inequality, these paintings insist that the moment of promise is now.

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Azadi Series by Shahid Mirza first Published at Uddari Art, Punjab 1947 & After

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Most viewed Uddari posts 2008-2009

April 2008 – April 2009

In April 2008, Uddari Weblog was viewed over 600 times, by March 2009 the number had risen to 5000 views with the totals reaching 41000

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Slumbering Over Islamic Unity 887 views

All-Time Favorites
April 2008 – April 2009

Autobiography of the Great Dada Amir Haider Khan (1904-1986)

1. Royalty Rights in Punjabi Publishing

2. Royalties for Punjabi Language Authors

Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A glass half full!

Amarjit Chandan’s Poem being Carved in Stone in Oxfordshire

3. Author Royalties Down to Definitions in the Punjab

Post Retirement Positions for Musharraf

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Kishwar Naheed to Ahmad Faraz

‘Identity Card’ by Mahmoud Darwish in Punjabi

Lost and (Not) Found: Teen Idol Afzal Sahir

Kikli 13 July

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Most popular posts on Uddari pages

Sixty Years of Unflinching Beauty, 1948-2008

Kishwar Naheed: A Great Woman from the Punjab

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Recent Raves
‘No Heer please, we’re Sikhs!’

Punjabi MaaNboli and the Punjabis-1

Fauzia Rafique

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Uddari is One

April 11, Uddari Weblog is one year new!

134 Posts


295 approved

First post
April 11, 2008

Photo by Partap Singh Ahdan, Lahore 1943

Photo by Partap Singh Ahdan, Lahore 1943

Aahu Chashm Ragini
Photo by
Partap Singh Ahdan
Sourced by
Amarjit Chandan

Post intended to be the first
Royalty Rights in Punjabi Publishing

First Comment
‘It is so unfortunate that in the new provincial assembly there is no party/individual/group to voice the right of children to study in the mother tongue. maybe we need to start a signature campaign to promote the cause.’
Posted by
Home Uddari Mudhla Warqa
2008/04/07 at 9:19pm

First Uddari Page
Great Women of Punjabi Origin – Punjab Diyan Mannian Perwannian Zananian
Added on

Kewal Kaur, a Naxalite activist

Kewal Kaur, a Naxalite activist

First post
Kewal Kaur: A Great Punjabi Woman
Photo and information by
Amarjit Chandan

First Uddari blog site
Uddari Art

First work of art
Shahid Mirza’s ‘Kala MaiNdha Bhaes’

Modern Art by Punjabis
May 23 2008

Fauzia Rafique

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Punjabi Artists and Photographers at Uddari Art

Uddari Art Exhibition, the blog, began August 23rd with Shahid Mirza’s ‘kala Mainda Bhes’; and, in just over three months we already have the pleasure of viewing the work of over fifteen professional painters and photographers of Punjabi origin.

From Lahore, Chandigarh, New Delhi, London and Wales, our artists offer us unique styles, diverse forms and individual perspectives. The Creators deliver us our Punjab in images of color, and black and white; in paint and photography. Real and the unreal; pleasures and pain.
1. Kanwal Dhaliwal
2. Ayesha Farooq
3. Satish Gujral
4. Navpreet Kaur
5. Pran Nath Mago
6. Shahid Mirza
7. Sidharth
8. SL Parasher
9. Iqbal Rasheed
10. Prem Singh
1. Amarjit Chandan
2. Marek Jakubowski
3. Diwan Manna
4. Subhash Parihar
5. Gurvinder Singh
6. Prem Singh

View works displayed in the following themes:
– Modern Art by Punjabis
– City Spirit: Shahr Aatma
– Partition: The Punjab 1947
– Punjab Landscape
– People Punjab: Portraits and Groups
– Windows, Doors and Dwellings

Fauzia Rafique

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‘Sunday Afternoon at Lahore Canal’ a video by Shahid Mirza

Shahid Mirza has created a highly pleasant video experience on the life by the Canal in Lahore. The afternoon on Lahore Canal in the Summer of 2006, is a scene happening everywhere by the canals, ponds, rivers, pools, marshes and puddles in the rural and urban Punjab.

Though male-exclusive, the scene is alive and infectiously festive. The visual is deceptive in that in the first few moments, and barring all noises, it seems as if it is Punjabi countryside; but then, the road becomes visible, and there, we have a bustling city life of Lahore by the Canal on a Sunday afternoon.

In the scorching heat of Lahore, running water is a necessity that becomes a luxury to the less privileged citizens of Lahore and surrounding areas. As apparent by the notice board shown at the beginning of the video, even when the local authorities have prohibited bathing and washing in the Canal, people are happily using it to wash themselves, their clothes, linen, sheep, rickshaws, fruits, and anything else that needs washing and is portable. The youth is practicing long and high dives, dips and floats; BhangRas are happening; and, leg-pullings are on.

The people interviewed in the video show no confidence in the local authorities to spend any money for the development of the Lahore Canal area as a park for public to make it easy, safe and more accessible for the people. Lahoris simply disregard the ‘prohibtion notice’ because their need to have such a public space is too great in the summer.

The video is available for viewing on YouTube in Punjabi and English sub-titles. The English version has Malika Taranum Noor Jehan’s popular public-domain song ‘SanooN nehr walae pul te bula ke te khaurae mahi tkithay reh gya‘ (After agreeing to meet with us at the bridge of the Canal, i wonder where my Lover has been detained) as the background music, and it is amazing how well it goes with the whole action in the video.

Enjoy viewing.

Sunday Afternoon at Lahore Canal by Shahid Mirza: Punjabi

Sunday Afternoon at Lahore Canal by Shahid Mirza: English

Produced by Lahore Chitrkar, 2007

New at Uddari

View Cultural Events Page for information on South Asian Peoples Unity Conference organized by South Asian Peoples Forum (SAPF), and scheduled to be held in Toronto in October 2008; The 9th Annual Deepak Binning Walk-a-Thon in Vancouver on Sunday June 8, 11am at King George Park followed by the Westcoast Bhangra Festival; The dateline for This Magazine’s 12th Annual Great Canadian Literary Hunt is July 2, 2008.
View oil paintings, water color and sculptures by Shahid Mirza and Kanwal Dhaliwal at Uddari Art Exhibition.

Slumbering Over Islamic Unity

A widespread occurrence of deep sleep, napping, snoozing, dozing and blissful slumber has been witnessed by during the sessions of the 21st International Conference on Islamic Unity in Tehran held May 4 to 6 in 2008.

According to a story posted May 5th, 2008 by Mudassir Rizwan, Muslim Ulema from Oman, Sudan, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Germany, the US, Tunisia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, France, Morocco, India, Algeria, Hong Kong, Qatar, Britain, Denmark, Iraq, Turkey, Gambia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the United Arab Emirates are participating; over a hundred articles from foreign and domestic authors have been received by the secretariat of the conference of which 70 articles have been selected for presentation, he said.
“Preparing grounds for unity and solidarity of the Muslim World and bringing closer various cultural and scientific views are major goals of the conference. The participants are also to promote coexistence and find way out of current obstacles including the enemies’ plots and secular thoughts. The Islamic unity charter which has so far been signed by over 2,000 Muslim thinkers and scholars will be studied by the delegates.”

Here, find the Umah in action.

From waging heroic struggle against the onSlumber Image 015salught of sleep

To a continued resistance against it;

Slumber Image 011

From hiding faces

Slumber Image 009

To Giving in;

Slumber Image 010

From going overboard,

Slumber Image 004

To blissfulness,

Slumber Image 008

To an invitation to an open slumber party.

Slumber Image 003

No wonder, people in North America are inquiring about the materials those chairs and tables are made of; about the general environment of that place in Tehran; about the sounds heard by the participants; and, indeed the ideas discussed by the presenters. Their quest is to adopt or improvise the methods used in this Conference to bring sleep to millions of sleepless North American. This can be a breakthrough for consumers who are spending fortunes on sleep-inducing and anti-depressant drugs, on special mattresses and beds, pillows and pillow covers, and on slumber music and videos.

Keep our fingers crossed.

Information sent to Uddari by Shahid Mirza of Lahore Chitrkar.

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I need my sleep!