Photo by Abro Khuda Bux
Poem by Attiya Dawood
Vintage photo of Vivian Ayers’ home
Location: 2308 Truxillo, Front Porch
This three-piece photo and poetry exhibit was installed in 2308, the former home of actress Vivian Ayers. The installation combines the image of dancer Suhaee Abro, a poem by Attiya Dawood and the black and white photo, Airborne Interpretations, taken in the home.
A Song Everlasting
Swearing by the name of this earth
I had promised to love you,
This very earth
Has been opened like a grave for us.
All the flowers in my country have been picked
And gunpowder planted instead.
Fragrance breathes its last
In a torture camp.
The very lane where hand in hand with you
I have danced to the music of peace,
There a death-dealer is spread-eagled.
My “garbi” shalwar, “tik” dupatta and “khumbo”
I have hidden away in a box.
My own identity I have swallowed like a bitter pill.
Walking along with you and looking at the full moon
I cannot recite Bhittai’s “bait” to you,
The sound of Kalashnikovs
Makes my child get up from sleep.
I open my lips to sing a lullaby
And everybody else in the home
Puts a finger on their lips,
Gesturing me to remain silent.
Newspapers, like the nails of a witch
Tear off a bit of my flesh every day.
Are repeated parrot-like.
I don’t want to be sucked in by a swamp of fear.
Song-makers of my land!
Write for me an everlasting song
So that I can break the shackles of my tyranny
And dance again in ecstasy.
Translated into English by Asif Farrukhi
ABRO KHUDA BUX (KARACHI, SINDH) is a photographer and graphic design artist, and has exhibited extensively around Pakistan as part of “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Exhibition of Graphics and Photography,” “The Image of Flame,” as well as solo exhibitions. Bux participated in VBB’s May 2010 Living Room Art production and helped in the creation of VBB’s first Art Car.
ATTIYA DAWOOD (KARACHI, SINDH)is a voice from the villages of rural Sindh. She writes largely in Urdu and has published widely in Pakistan. Her poetry and memoir are widely read around South Asia and her voice has been hailed as an urgent call for women in the region.
AIRBORNE INTERPRETATIONS: Barefoot and airborne, Texas Southern University dancing instructor Marjorie Stewart gives an enthusiastic exhibition of interpretive dancing for guests at a Houston house party hosted by Texas poetess Vivian Allen Ayers (seated on floor).