Affan Baghpati (b. 1991, Karachi) obtained his BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi, and completed his Master’s in Art and Design Studies at SVAD, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Baghpati’s art practice is concerned with re-contextualising discarded domestic objects into the artistic sphere, identifying their notional value through their design, aesthetic, form and functionality. Syed Arsal Hasan (b. 1989, Karachi) is a theatre director, actor and playwright, as well as one of the founding members of the Mandarjazail Collective. He graduated from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Design. Arsal’s artistic practice draws its inspiration from the writings of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Mirza Ghalib as a way of examining South Asian culture from a structuralist perspective. His work is deliberately designed so that it transitions with fluidity between film, theatre and art with a malleable visual vocabulary.
Their collaborative sculptural installation for the Karachi Biennale 2017, Aasaih-e-Manzil, is an artistic response to Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poem, ‘Do Ishq’ (Two Loves). Using abandoned objects to symbolise the personified ‘motherland’ that Faiz yearns for in his verse, the duo visually transpose the notion of cultural vulnerability and loss latent in the poem. The arrangement and composition of the objects aesthetically recalls the structure of poetic verse, and the selection of the objects themselves imbues the structure with a contemplative, nostalgic tone that somehow atmospherically transports the viewer to a forgotten past.