VIDA is a platform created by a Pakistani woman where artists are connected to craftspeople and manufacturers to create responsibly produced clothing. The company manufactures products with a zero waste policy and for every product made, they offer literacy and education programs in their factories in Karachi and across the world. This collaboration makes me especially happy because it connects all that I care about: technology, ethical manufacturing, social impact and art with lots of women!
Named after women I look up to, the artwork is a colorful celebration of South Asian women being themselves, owning their space and transforming their culture by their presence. These women are of this land but continue to change it- making culture a living, breathing, and negotiable space. The motifs in the artwork including the patterns, jewelry and architectural elements are inspired by the beautiful city of Bahawalpur in the province of Punjab.
This is my dream of a modern female Subcontinent.
Women are often known in relation to the men in their lives. Including official documents, our identification is based on the name of our father or husband. But women certainly have their own identity and a voice of their own. It’s time we know ourselves by our own names, our own accomplishments.
Often in public spaces we find men lounging around, owning their space, watching you go by unabashedly. This time I wanted to do the reverse- a woman sitting outside (in what is largely considered an improper posture) listening to music, staring back at you unperturbed. A flower hangs from her mouth in true Casanova fashion, and she asks, ‘What are you looking at?”
Inspired by the generations of women I’ve met in Pakistan who act as nurturers- giving of themselves wholly to others without complaint. With the pelican acting as a symbol of motherhood and sacrifice, the text acknowledges the power of women who transform not only their own lives, but also of their children and their wider community.
When thinking about the representations of women in popular culture, it often hits me how we are seen through the eyes of men. This time I wanted draw a woman looking at the world, her gaze is the one that matters to her; she is unconcerned with us looking at her. The camera in her hand changes the power dynamic from subject to protagonist. The text reads, “I want to look at this world through my own eyes.”
An ode to women doing things their way, looking at things differently, paving the way for new generations to follow.