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A PAKHTUN MEMORY

28 December 2011 / Shirin Jinnah Colony, Karachi

“This is not a place to celebrate happiness.”
(Police to crowd in Shirin Jinnah Colony, Karachi)

In this urban choreography, the Tentative Collective hired a band to play a specific rural Pakhtun folk tune in a dense urban setting populated by Pakhtun migrants. The tune was representative of a tradition of music played at harvests and weddings in hilly Pakhtun villages. It was performed on an abandoned roundabout in the city near a migrant colony of Pakhtuns relocated to Karachi for work (or by the War on Terror).  By re-situating a communal musical performance; belonging and the performativity of bodies in public space was explored, projections of homogenous Pakhtun culture were challenged and the layered nature of public spaces by class, ethnicity and security were revealed. We were left with questions about the boundaries of (our own) privilege, class and subversion.

Winner of the juror’s prize award at the Mohawk Hudson Regional Exhibition, University Art Museum, UAlbany. 2012. Selected for screening at the Syracuse International Film Festival 2012, CityPossible Film Festival III, Asia Research Institute NUS Singapore 2014, Karachi Conference Film Festival 2014 and Digital Marrakech Festival 4th edition Arab Media Lab Foundation 2014. Semi-finalist for Institute for Public Art’s 2nd International Award for Public Art 2015.

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