On Friday, July 25, Fida Haq posted on Facebook from Bangladesh – “Art in the Time of Numbing Brutality Have the Israelis become comfortably numb? Have we become comfortably numb? Is it kosher to refer to lyrics of a cute Pink Floyd song when we are talking about children’s body parts being blown away by aerial bombardments? Is it alright to use ‘kosher’ when describing atrocities committed by Israelis on the Gazans (or should I use the word ‘jaiz’)? Where do we start? Where does it end? How far do we go boycotting Israel? When do we exactly equate Zionism with Nazism? How do we keep religions out of this mayhem – if at all? When nothing seems to make sense or give you an answer, turn to art. Like this group of young artists have done with their installation at the TSC, Dhaka University.” (See above)
Fida returned with his family to Bangladesh several years ago, after more than a decade in western Sydney. While in western Sydney, he took a break from his professional electronic engineering career to explore his long held dream of being an artist. My first exposure to Fida’s art was through his 2004 exhibition at Parramatta Heritage Centre, Geometric Beauties: Patterns of Islam. Works like Roses From Basra: Night Visions 1, 2 and 3 had disturbing meaning beyond their sublimely beautiful patterns. (see Passion Purpose Meaning – Arts Activism in Western Sydney pp 201, 202)
In his notes to Roses From Basra: Night Vision 3 (with apologies for inadequate reproduction above), he wrote “The Roses of Basra series deals with the invasion and destruction of Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction by the ‘freedom loving people’. The works have a palette of limited range of black and green to reflect the colours seen through the missile-tip IR cameras right before they precision-hit the target – a scene brought to us night after night on evening TV. . . .”
Tagged into his Facebook message was Mouna Zaylah, a former co-director of the Arab Film Festival and a worker at Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE), Parramatta. On the same day, Mouna posted, “I know for a fact that my posts distress some of you. I know for a fact that you wish I didn’t share some of the facts and gruesome images and stories of murdered Palestinians, of the destruction and unbelievable acts committed by the Israelis. I share these because I believe that many of you will react and act. You might write a letter, sign a petition, donate to charity, learn more about the Palestinian struggle, oppression, siege. You might feel something or discuss the issue with someone that might do something. It all counts. You might go to the protest this Sunday. It counts. If you lose a friend or two then that would be sad. But you’ll be ok and you’ll live through it. Just do something.”
She invites you to Like her new Facebook page Women 4 Peace for Children.