Kahani Eik Shehr Ki (A Story of a City)
Note: The image is a detail section of a long lenticular print
In Kahani Eik Shehr Ki Farida Batool narrates a story of her city from different perspectives, as a protagonist, as a storyteller. She walks along different roadsides of Lahore, to tell a story through the brief momentous interaction with people and the visual imagery found around. The juxtaposition of the images help construct a complex narrative; framing citizens within significant markers of the city presented through the banality of every-day-ness.
Arrays of events are experienced during a walk, from seeing simple mundane parked cars to noisy rickshaws closely passing by the crowded bazaar. Running parallel to the boundary of the Lahore High Court the footpath is ornamented with stalls of old wall clocks, diaries, clothes frugally displayed by vendors. Behind these items peep the wall chalkings: political, religious torn posters, coincidently side-by-side advertisement for army recruits and precious land, not only points at the relationship of the state with their citizens but also elucidates the consumer culture. Other walls show radical graffiti by religious extremists groups offering calls for Jihad, invoking sectarian sentiments that are ironically layered with advertisement of products enhancing male sexuality. The omnipresence of security guards, barricaded and open gates outside government institutions, blue containers skirting visa offices reflects the vulnerability of the city.
The movement of the walk is created through optical illusion, a hallmark of lenticular technique, which allows several layers of images to change along the movement of the viewer.
Batool did her BFA from the National College of Arts in 1993, followed by a Masters by Research in Art History and Theory from the University of New South Wales, Australia in 2003. In 2008 Batool enrolled in a PhD program from SOAS, University of London and currently heads the Department of Communication and Cultural Studies at the NCA, Lahore.
Photo Credits | Raheem ul Haque and Hassan Mujtaba