Women Under Siege: Transition: Sufism / Consumerism © 2012 vbb_admin. All rights reserved.

Transition: Sufism / Consumerism

Location: Laundry Room / Home Entrance
Edited and produced by Tazeen Hussain; video accompanied by installation piece

Tazeen Hussain: The Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine and its surrounding bazaar, has served as a landmark for Karachites. It is a place people go to pray for their dreams to come true: a male child, a house, a beloved becoming one’s own. The bazaar, with its various votive offerings, fortunetellers and festivities has had to bear the brunt of security concerns, post the devastating and bloody blasts a year ago.

Over the past two years the precincts of the shrine have played host to another economic activity; the burgeoning of Imperial and Royal Palm, the two most popular Lawn exhibition locations in Karachi. Lawn has laid siege to women, and the shrine, the approach to which is decorated by huge hoardings selling dreams, via Lawn.

It is ironic to note that the bazaar, which intrinsically symbolizes something the Sufis shun, is so much a part of the culture surrounding the shrines. At the ‘bazaar’, the goods being sold (Mithai, beads, votive offerings like chadders, phool, and churis) are connected to the dreams and wishes of the devotees. In Lawn we see another form of wish fulfillment, entrenched in consumerism. The Lawn madness also serves to cater to dreams and wish fulfillment through another means. My art is an attempt to capture the visual journey of a devotee to the shrine, a journey through a siege of advertising and its possible subsequent transition.

This installation incorporates fabric and text from the ‘chadder’, used to drape the grave of Abdullah Shah Ghazi. It also incorporates the latest Lawn fabric, part of the collection Spring 2012, by various designers.

The taviz (amulets) are symbolic of the wishes and prayers that take you to the shrine. They have been intentionally kept empty, hollow, a comment on how the journey can become meaningless when a society driven by consumerism loses touch with spirituality.


Tazeen Hussain (Karachi, Pakistan) is an educator/artist with a diverse portfolio, covering visual arts, television, theatre, journalism, and social work. Hussain received a Bachelors degree in Communication Design from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS), where she currently teaches. She also serves as visiting faculty at Karachi University.



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