KAAL PAKHAN (Blackbirding)
Medium: Painting (7″ x 5″ acrylic on cotton on board), Quilt (6′ x 4′, appliquéd quilted cotton stuffed with synthetic American wool), brass palm tree with daggers.
‘Kaal Pakhan’ or ‘Black Birding’ quilt has images of Lahore in winter. Rows of gainda or marigold have instructions ‘do not pick flowers’ with a tiny Montgomery Hall/Qaid e Azam Library at the back. A black bird is a witness to this. I picked up the black bird from Time Life mag on the British Empire. These scared screaming blackbirds were used to capture escaping slaves (that’s where the term blackbirding comes from).
This quilt is juxtaposed with emblem-like brass palm tree and daggers, and a small portrait that seems to have slipped out of the quilt. These elements can be combined in any order to create a narrative.