Pakistan, the country of my birth is a somewhat unfamiliar place to me today. It has changed so much, I sometimes feel like an alien there. The difference in ideology is so vast, it's easy to feel like an outsider. Meanwhile in my adopted home of New York City, I feel completely at home, but at times, I'm an alien here too. And so like many others I maintain the status of a temporary yet permanent, Insider Outsider. And sometimes vice versa.
I was born in Peshawar, Pakistan and originate from a village nearby called Babri Banda. This is the heartland of the Pashtun people. Over the years, the culture in the region has shifted drastically. Like in Iran, we all grew up hearing stories of Pakistan’s happier, more open-minded times. And while Pakistan was never supremely moderate, the radicalization of our age refuses to cease. Personally, while I speak Urdu and Pashto, and visit Pakistan often, I still feel like an alien sometimes. Truth is, people living there feel like aliens. In fact, I find it’s a universal feeling. In my work, the UFO represents the outsider. The patterns surrounding it represents the insider. I find the combination of Eastern traditional craftsmanship and Western contemporary sensibilities, has led me to this work and a category I refer to as Sub- Continental Futurism.
The works are created using traditional hand-made rug-making techniques and processes. Since they are intended to be wall mounted, to me, I don’t see them as rugs, but more like woven hanging sculptures.
An important part of the process for me is working with the artisans. third generation weavers, to conceptually understand what they are helping me make. This mutual understanding of concept is important because they begin to view the work in the same way I do, and hence become collaborators. Good thing everyone knows what it feels like to be an outsider. I start by composing the work digitally. Once the design is complete, I work with a grid technician who then translates the digital work into a workable blueprint for the weavers to use as a guide. Once the dyes are complete, the weaving process begins. It takes approximately 9 months to complete a piece. Once completed, the rugs are washed and treated to maintain their vibrancy. The woven works are limited editions of 3 and come in different sizes.