Margaret Atwood in her interview with BBC’s programme Talking Books describes all writing as future writing; since any one who picks a pen, puts words on a paper is doing so for the sake of a reader who will read the text – in future, short or long! Another novelist, Nadine Gordimer also comments on the act of writing, and according to her an author must write posthumously: reaching to a reader in distant future. A number of writers believe in that, so their immediate issues are transformed into permanent concerns/contents. However even a text, remark or comment made on a passing problem, an observation, which has a cursory nature, sometimes enjoys a life of posterity, due to the person who utters it, Oscar Wilde probably being the best example in this regard.
In this context, for a writer on art, apart from usual, there are some other problems and dimensions. First and foremost is the matter of translating one idiom into other. Converting images into words. A task that requires a number of challenges; because in no way one can replicate or reproduce the visual sensation of an art work, even if it is made mainly with text – into language. Art writing does not include this information/aspect, but it enables a reader to comprehend the art, artist and the context that complete the creative process. So a writer on art is not just a passive personality reflecting on plastic art, but an individual who makes intelligent, interesting and valuable contribution towards understanding aesthetic phenomenon.
However art writing can not exist – away from the art produced in a place. Yet great pieces of writing on art are still relevant beyond their eras, areas and subjects. Hence a publication seeks to invite writers, who do not respond to immediacy of an item, artefact or exhibition, but their words – and thoughts may have longer life and reach wider audience. Art Now Pakistan in its two years has been keen on writers, with these traits and undoubtedly its contributors have been a valuable asset not only to the magazine, but to the world of art in general.
Actually the relationship of a writer and a magazine is a peculiar one. Because no magazine can survive without writers, and every author needs a platform in order to communicate his thoughts/text. In this web of mutual necessities, Art Now Pakistan is fortunate that some of the best names have been associated with the magazine and are writing regularly. The current is another example of this aspect. In our In Focus section, the essay by Maha Malik addresses the theme of art writing, and the second essay – in the form of an obituary is on ShafiAqeel, the most important art writer in Urdu who passed away last month. Both these texts are a means to celebrate the act – or ritual, of art writing.A similar homage is paid to late ShafiAqeel in Khadija Raza’s piece, whereas AnilaZulfiqar deals with the theme of writing on art in Urdu.
In the profile part Iqbal Geoffrey’s text on Imran Mir is significant both for the author and his subject. Interview of IqraTanveer is also part of present issue, and she talks about her work soon to be seen at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, a huge achievement for the artist and the art from Pakistan.
The section of reviews, studio visits, book review and news brings a range of activities, concerns, ideas and individuals, all that inspires a person to write on art, and become part of the creative process – the last and final part!