Basir Mahmood, Shortlisted Artist, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016
Lunda Bazaar (Secondhand Clothing Market), 2010, Video, 13:35 min
The video Lunda Bazaar is a study of the eponymous secondhand clothing market in Lahore, that gave the artist the opportunity to study the transformation that occurs when an item of clothing moves from one person to another, and from one culture to another, implying both memory and transformation. Shot from afar to ensure the subjects were unaware of being filmed, Lunda Bazaar depicts a succession of men and one woman trying on jumpers and jackets, looking to make them fit their bodies. The clothing sold at Lunda Bazaar (the name “Lunda” is derived from “London”) has typically made its way from the United Kingdom, United States and other countries in Asia, such as Korea, Japan, and China. Originally made for people in different climates and cultures, the garments are transformed through the act of appropriation, retaining traces of memory, whilst also becoming something new.
Missing Letters, 2015, Paper ashes, Dimensions variable
This installation by Basir Mahmood uses ashes he collected from the RLO (Returned Letter Office) at the Pakistan Post Office, Lahore, previously known during the British colonial era as the “Dead Letter Office”. In this location, undelivered letters are kept for thirty days before eventually being burned. Most letters are undelivered for having an incomplete or illegible address, whilst many also end up here due to an inefficient postal service. Having been able to collect these ashes, Mahmood then reduced to the point where they cannot be burned further. Whilst allowing reflection on the writing of thoughts, stories and memories that are lost (yet still implicit in the route the letters have taken to end up in this exhibition), Missing Letters also contemplates the regular occurrence of missing and disappeared people in Pakistan.
Basir Mahmood was recognized by the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016 for his outstanding work and deep development of his practice over recent years.
Basir Mahmood (b. 1985 Lahore, Pakistan) studied in Lahore at the Beaconhouse National University, and received a yearlong fellowship from Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2011. In order to engage with situations around him, he ponders upon embedded social and historical terrains of the ordinary, as well as his personal milieu. Using video, film or photograph, Mahmood weaves various threads of thoughts, findings and insights into poetic sequences and various forms of narratives.
Since 2011, his works has been widely shown, including: The Garden of Eden, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012; III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Russia, 2012; Inaugural Show, Broad Museum, Michigan State University, 2012; Asia Pacific Triennial (APT 7) at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2012; Sharjah Biennial 11. (2013); At Intervals at Cooper Gallery Project Space, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, 2014; Des hommes, des mondes at college des bernardins, Paris, 2014 and Time of others” at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2015. Japan. He is currently represented by Grey Noise Gallery, Dubai.