“The series is a reinvention of traditional craft techniques in the modern context, and the works are both deeply rooted in the past while maintaining a contemporary aesthetic. Taking inspiration from vessels from the Gandhara civilization, Andy Warhol’s depiction of the “ordinary”, and the flawless transition of materiality in nature, this body of work is about re-tracing the past in order to create something novel and yet timeless.
In addition to natural stone, the series is tied together by the use of copper, a symbol of spirituality, in the age of the Buddhist Candhara civilization of which modern day Peshawar was once the capital city. For this, I collaborated with a fifth-generation copper workshop in Peshawar to hand craft vessels that carry both time and experience symbolized by Peshawar. Through my practice, I am re-constructing identity, both for myself and for the communities with whom I collaborate. I see my art as a way of piecing together fragments of memory and experienced history.
Recalling living through the 2000’s in a frontier town which was a hub to the conflict border economy, my memory is flooded with smuggled American food brands, such as Campbell’s soup cans, that infiltrated the bazaars of Peshawar which were originally meant to cater to the US troops in Afghanistan. I link these commodities with Andy Warhol’s repetition of Campbell’s soup cans and their infiltration into the fine art world which later become one of the most recognizable icons of the pop art movement. Regarding sameness and a robotic replication of images, Warhol attempts to become a machine devoid of emotion. In a paradox, I take that thought and recreate it into a piece with its own identity, morphing machine-made quality into a meticulously hand-crafted pietra dura piece that displays raw human emotion. ‘