Stray Hope & Antidotes

14 images Created 9 Sep 2019

In 2017, after years out of Lahore, the city of my birth, I returned. It was an unsettling experience.

Trees had been cut, kite-flying banned, friends gone into exile or giving up, giant new highways confiscating parts of the city and fragmenting it.

I could not help but photograph what, for me, were symptoms of a lethal disease, at the same time create a keepsake, a direct albeit metaphorical record of a disintegrating city.
In parallel, I searched for people who constitute the very texture & soul of a certain Lahore that I grew up with, a city of musicians, poets, writers, artists, craftsmen, and activists. All of them are also educators and mentors to many. In a way, I was mentally repopulating my city with what had once been its essence. People who sow seeds of social change. I constructed their portraits as the antidote to baleful powers at work.
These pairs of images are plural but intimate conversations. Portraits and ‘cityscapes’ mirror and address each other, creating mental diptychs and visual resonances.

This corpus of memories is a tribute to the city that is barely catching its breath and its people who struggle to breathe life back into it.
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