Zones of conflict not only exist outside but these reside within us too. Each day a person starts life facing multiple options. Imposed by others as well as erupting from the deep (and dark) well of human psyche. These choices, occasionally developing into conflicts lead us to various cross roads, often leaving disagreements, disappointments and dejection in their wake. These kinds are, a continuous struggle within ourselves, in which one side may dominate, but not for long, as the other half takes over soon.
Conflict of that sort sometimes is translated being contradiction of positive and negative elements in a human being. But for mortal the separation of good and bad is not as clear and simple as for angels inscribing our deeds. So normally resulting in mass misunderstanding: What to support and what to suppress? What to acknowledge and what to decline? What to share and what to conceal?
Private zones of conflicts are the points of confusion.
Not much dissimilar from other, much visible, larger and lethal arenas of conflict: Political, territorial, regional, religious, commercial (although all of these can be surmised into one, any category!). Today the landscape of our planet is marred by these spots of contention, where warring factors, of opposite faiths, ethnicities, patriotic bonding, and economic interests confront their opponents in diverse disguises and at various fields. Thus, contemporary zones of conflict are spread from terrains of combating soldiers to control rooms, from headquarters of allied forces to hideouts of terrorists, from the screens of TV channels to the monitors of personal computers.
In our present world, these divides, caused and controlled by multiple factors, are manifested in the works of art too. Artists reflect, respond and react to calamities in different parts of globe, no matter if happening in neighbourhood or at a far-off continent; because beyond the tags of nationality, ethnicity or sect, death of a human being is same across barriers (of language, nationalities, beliefs).
Different artists have produced works about these zones of conflict, may those are from the Middle East, North Africa, Mid-West America, South Asia, South East Asia, East Europe, or Central America, since a creative person cannot evade or avoid them. So, no matter if these areas turn into personal and private territory or are connected to a wider world order, artists have been making works which dealt with general conflicts and human contradictions.
The present issue of Art Now Pakistan encompasses these zones of conflict, including political, military, geographical, intellectual, metaphorical and virtual, since all these concern art; as the world of visual art cannot be distant, disinterested or disjointed from the world at large.
Essays, Profile, Interview and Book Review deal with this theme, however extending to different dimensions, so what we find is not something taking place in front, but within us, because in any case what happens outside is nothing till it enters our vision, mind, memory, imagination, experience – and expression. Perhaps the real zones of conflict lie in our words, more than in our world!