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Interior Design: Pānch batā teen-sou bānway



Installation, consisting of text files in folders on a desktop computer, matte tape on wall

8'2" x 16'

The artist, known as Ali within their family, grew up in one of Karachi's crowded, low-income neighborhoods in a house numbered 5/392. The English-taught child in a community fluent in Urdu encountered shame and resentment surrounding their locale, upbringing and language, and the perceived class associated with English as they grew up. Wanting to distance themselves from all of it led to recurring returns to dysfunctional family dynamics.

In their Interior Design, Ali shares a map of their house, laying over fragments of memories linked to each person, space and object they lived with, using their first creative tool, Microsoft Word on a legacy Windows PC. This map unfolds memories emerging from material relations shaped by class and patriarchy, revealing their complex interplay between notions of love, creativity, and desire. 



This work is presented as part of Belonging/Disbelonging, curated by Aziz Sohail with Deborah Robinson and Abeeha Hussain at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture Gallery for the exhibition, زندگی مزاحمت ہے Life is Resistance in 2024.

Belonging/Disbelonging is funded by the British Council International Collaboration Grants, which are designed to support the UK and overseas organisations to collaborate on international art projects.

The work is inspired by Ayesha Alizeh Arbab’s poem 'private/نجی’ and prose ‘Bad House’ which oriented me towards a new way of thinking about home life, in which spatial and familial relations are inseparable. I’m grateful to Tazeen Akmal Jameel for her support in a therapeutic setting as I explored the duplexities of my childhood experiences with her trust, patience, and insight.

Special thanks to Aileya Shah, Ahsen Waheed, Kiran Rao, and Muqeet Khan, whose collaborative spirit and curious listening played a vital role in bringing it to completion.

Zeeshan Lakhani and KP, who helped me find the equipment, and the team at CFAW safekeeping it, are greatly appreciated. 

The written component of this work was shaped by the indispensable advice from Sara Khan and Zuha Siddiqui at the 2023 LUMS Young Writers’ Workshop, Fazal Rizvi and Anshika Varma at the KALĀxASAP workshop ‘Word and Image: Contemporary Art Practices and the Written Word’, and from Sadia Khatri in their writing sessions for the Belonging/Disbelonging resident artists. 

I extend my sincere appreciation to Q. Saki for her invaluable support with the installation. I have boundless gratitude for Ashi, Anita Datta, and participants and organizers of The Queer Muslim Project's 2022 Queer Muslim Futures | Narrative Change Convening in Nepal for their life-changing friendships, serving as portals into the future I aspire to inhabit, making remembering and dreaming irresistible.


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Compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS. Requires a word processor that supports .doc files for viewing.

Ground map.png
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