Long before long-distance flights were initiated, art performed this task. Art transported an individual (both the maker and the consumer of art) from one location to another, without leaving the ground. ‘Imagination’ was the carrier for those long haul (often never ending) sojourns.
Since art, in its essence, is contract between reality and fiction, between present and possible, between tangible and imaginable. Between here and there. Between one identity to next. Thus nothing is sacred, fixed, or forever. A creative mind always questions, critiques and contradicts facts provided to him. Truths about different emblems: Nation, identity, language, ideology.
Artists have the capacity, capability and courage to deviate from what is prescribed, only because artist always have a dual nationality, if not a multiple one. He resides in one place, but visualizes other possibilities, other venues. Mainly those who left the land of their ancestors and now identify with another set up. For some of those, life is spent in weaving a comfortable quilt with pattern of abandoned country on one side and the marks of an adapted homeland on other/inner side. Often the two merging and mixing – but never matching.
Artists who left their homelands at various phases of their life and for multiple reasons do refer to a variety of audience: Those in their immediate surroundings and those they abandoned years ago, but not completely. Not possible either. A creative person is always seeking a conversation – with him, with others and with his medium, material and imagery.
Art Now Pakistan has been investigating the process of this journey, its claimed baggage, its left-out stuff, its desired destination. In its present issue, Art Now Pakistan focuses on art and artists who have been outsiders, mainly of a different race, relation, position, within the republic of art. Essays, Profile texts, Photo-essay and the Book Review reaffirm what an outsider is, an outsider that may be living thousands of miles away, or next door, long dead or still producing, popular or long perished; but it is his art and ideas which make him distinct – another word for outside – perhaps for eternal.