Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Fine Line

Recently a painting caught my eye. It was by a very close friend Andaleeb Rizvi. Andaleeb Rizvi is an architect, a journalist, an environmentalist, a nature photographer, a painter from Pakistan. Oh yes she also does not believe in God. She refuses to give an explanation about her work and says that each person viewing the painting should make up his/her own mind.I really liked her wrk, and thought I would share my thoughts on this particular piece with everyone. By the way you can view more of her work at

To some this painting is about women rights in the Muslim world, some others think it is some how related to the recent ban on burqas in France. I think it is about pushing the dogmas of the society.
To me the eyes in the painting represent the society, held beliefs, the status quo, the establishment etc. the color in the eyes red, yellow etc. represent anger, frustration, grief, sadness
The burqa in this picture are the limits set... by the society. Limits beyond which this woman is not supposed to go. The highlighted breasts and bottom of the woman are depictions of her potency, her ability, her capability. Now her abilities (breasts) are pushing the boundaries of the limits (burqa) that have been put in place by the society.
Now the ever watchful eyes of the society are watching this woman defying their ideas, defying limits set by them and they watch in grief and anger. The ground below her feed is fire like golden-ish. That I think means she is walking through hell under the furious eyes of the status quo. But she is walking tall, and moving forward.

Its a story of defiance while remaining within the society. It is a story of pushing the social dogmas and rules without going over the line. That is what most freethinkers do in societies such as ours. We push the limits so that it makes the people of the status quo uncomfortable but keeping in mind our own safety we don't cross the line. We push just enough to start debates to make people question.
It is a fine balance that we have to watch for and that we have to maintain. The hope is that someday, we won’t have to worry about crossing the lines and tossing the burqa away.

What do you think about the painting? Do let me know.


Andy said...

I like it. The floating eyes gives it an Orwellian Big Brother feel.

Faraz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well written. The painting is a remarkably apt portrayal of the our society's perversion - they'd much rather coerce women into dressing up in unsightly beekeeper suits than to exercise a greater amount of control over their own filthy minds

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

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chhipa said...

Another great article. I like that you are very honest and direct to the point.

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NAPH said...

I think that in a watched, critical, and fashionable world the woman protects herself in her burqa. Without being seen, she shows that she will not be judged by her appearance, and that nobody has any right to her own body.

nazia shah said...

there is very deep mean in this picture but if some one understand,
thanks for share

Anonymous said...

first of all, I have to say that the tagline under your blog heading had me laughing for ten minutes XD

Second of all, yay, another pakistani atheist! I used to be on the orkut group for pakistani atheists and agnostics, but haven't been for some time, didn't know there was a fb one now too (or is it unconnected?)

Last of all, your interpretation of the painting is interesting, it does seem to be defying the idea of a burka rather than supporting it, though at first glance the latter is what seems to be in the artist's mind.

Hazrat NaKhuda said...

hey backed sunshine.

yeah i was in the orkut group. It has moved to FB now. the FB one is really active. I would recommend that you join up there.

Hopeless said...

Oh Hello fellow heathens,
good to see a few speak out.
absolutely love the painting, quite simple and yet so deep.

ea jabbar said...

well !

Christuus Gnosis (C.Taylor) said...

I think it is showing
how the woman feels
that the burka or whatever the name of it is to her culture
as she walks in it
she is aware that it
protects her from the eyes of those
she doesn't want familiar contact with.

I'm only talking about what I see in this painting
not really going into the whole topic and its politics

but it does seem she is feeling protected from the eyes by the garment

Ashiq Rasool said...

Repent or die. this is your final warning.

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