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War Rugs With Love - I Am A Tree


I Am A Tree

Part of "War Rugs with Love" series, I Am A Tree is a body of work inspired by an excerpt of Orhan Pamuk's novel, "My Name Is Red". This body of work constitutes a series of Artsit Books , Text pieces, drawings and paintings. 



Just as a plant makes no mistake in turning towards the light, so man makes no mistake in following Revelation and, in consequence, in following tradition. There is something infallible in the natural instinct of animals, and also in the ‘supernatural instinct’ of men; but man is the only ‘animal’ capable of going against nature as such, either wrongly by violating it, or else by transcending it.    


                                                           Diversity of Revelation

                                                           Frithjof Schuon


Begin making your home with a beautiful foundation


The caption above was placed on a land-reform company’s advertisement in an American magazine in the 1980’s with an image of a timber-house under construction, sporting a Persian rug on its bare plywood floor. This tagline resonates in the first strand of works at Nida Bangash’s premier solo exhibition in USA. Fibered with an idea of redefining endurance, these works discard the globally politicized phenomenon of a ‘war rug’ by positioning its ingredients back to its timeless framework.


The threads begin to weave in Bangash’s birthplace Mashhad, Iran where in 2007, she commences the traditional art practice quotient of her MA (Hons.) Visual Arts Program, National College of Arts, Lahore. Under the supervision of Khanume Tawakolean, an old lady heading the carpet-weaving workshop, she produces a portion of a small rug adorned with a Persian arabesque pattern. For this show, the object culminates as War Rug 1 interpreting the most widely known reason of an armed conflict that marks nailed territories encompassing power, possession, control and security: a house. The yarn is interlaced inside the house as War Rug 2 becomes a demarcation of the aforementioned ideals, set on the human scale of a prayer rug. War Mannequins 1 and 2 dwell into the minds and hearts of its inhabitants as portraits hinting on the inherent theatrics of domesticity and family life.


The series Tree of Life puts forth the forces of war and love breathing in and out in a twofold way - the pairs of paintings seemingly compliment and contradict each other employing a balancing act between monotone and color. This harmonic play on every dual phenomenon both known or riddle-like to human intelligence, conclusively roots itself in the artist's book: I Am A Tree. Inspired by an excerpt of Orhan Pamuk's novel My Name Is Red, the book retains a binary dialog between any primordial truth with its counter postmodern theology. I Am A Tree unfolds to establish a hallmark feature of Bangash's practice: intricacy, delicately teamed up with a translucent afterglow.


Text by

Usman Saeed 

November, 2014











Falling from my story like a leaf falls in fall...


I am a tree and I am quite lonely... They allege that I've been hastily sketched onto non-sized, rough paper so the picture of a tree might hang behind the master story teller. True enough. At this moment, there are no other slender trees beside me, no seven-leaf steppe plants, no dark billowing rock formations which at times resemble Satan or a man and no coiling Chinese clouds. Just the ground, the sky, myself and the horizon. But my story is much more complicated.

The essential reason of my loneliness is that I don't even know where I belong. I was supposed to be part of a story, but I fell from there like a leaf in autumn.  

... I know nothing about the page I've fallen from. My Request is that you look at me and ask: "Were you perhaps meant to provide shade to Mejnun disguised as a shepherd as he visited Leyla in her tent?" or "Were you meant to fade into the night, representing the darkness in the soul of a wretched and hopeless man?" How I would have wanted to complement the happiness of two lovers who fled from the whole world, traversing oceans to find solace on an island rich with birds and fruit! I would've wanted to shade Alexander during the final moments of his life on his campaign to conquer Hindustan as he died from persistent nosebleed brought on by sunstroke. Or was I meant to symbolize the strength and wisdom of a father offering advice on love and life to his son? AH, to which story was I meant to add meaning and grace?




I don't want to be a tree, I want to be its meaning.


Extract from My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk.



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