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Art as a Voice: Syed Khurram Abbas on Conveying Messages & Challenging Injustice

EntertainmentArt as a Voice: Syed Khurram Abbas on Conveying Messages & Challenging Injustice
Interviewee: Syed Khurram Abbas

In an interview, artist Syed Khurram Abbas expressed his inspirations, including renowned poets Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Habib Jalib, and Salman Haider. He emphasized the significance of preventing the suffering endured by the people of Kurram Agency, KPK, and believed that art is a powerful medium to convey his message.

Khurram’s minimalistic style incorporates miniature painting techniques, utilizing pages as symbolic elements in each artwork. Instead of calligraphy, he incorporates text resembling diary entries. The burnt and aged pages represent haunting memories associated with violence. While painting these memories can be emotionally challenging, recent events, such as the execution of seven teachers for their Shia faith, have fueled his motivation.

Despite limited art appreciation in Pakistan, Khurram engages with people through exhibitions and media platforms, sharing his story and receiving positive feedback. He highlights common symbols in his artworks, sparking both intense debates and informative conversations. Khurram acknowledges the risks involved, as his sensitive subjects can attract trouble, but he believes in the importance of someone speaking up. He faces criticism for tackling depressing issues but reminds others that these topics are part of society. Each viewer interprets his artwork uniquely, fostering connections and understanding. Art provides a platform to convey messages that he finds difficult to express otherwise. He remains hopeful, driven by the stories that must be shared.

Khurram laments the lack of logical thinking in society, where emotional decisions fuel sectarian conflicts, leading to death and suffering. He cites examples of targeted killings, including the recent incident in Tari Mangal, where six Shia Muslim teachers were brutally murdered. Religious tolerance is scarce, making minorities, including Shia, Christians, and Hindus, vulnerable. Blasphemy accusations are often misused for personal grudges, worsening societal issues. Despite challenges, Khurram hopes that his voice will eventually be heard as he continues to shed light on injustice and misuse of power.

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