Mera Pani (My water) explores the recent water devastation that has occurred in the Indian Subcontinent, focusing on Punjab, Pakistan. Punjab-the land of five rivers, has held an imperialistic role over the Indian Sub-continent due to the presence of the Indus river. The flow of Indus has informed many Punjabi cultures and traditions, it has also become the bases for conflict. This conflict is addressed through statistics and numbers in the news. However, I want my work to be a series of conversations with the river. Our waters live and breath life into our land, however, our relationship with them has deteriorated steadily as we increasingly experience climate change as well as implement policies that continue to exploit them. The tense relationship has manifested itself in the form of annual flooding, water retention to the local population, and various global brands establishing factories abusing the river. As a result, the water resources to the locals keep suffering. Paired with the governmental mismanagement and climate change, the conflict over water keeps escalating.
I will be working with the recent events, exploring them on a large-scale canvas, using paint as well as various materials such as textiles and newspapers, ultimately creating a collage. I also plan to incorporate various visual elements of the South Asian culture and refer to our community’s historic relationship with water expressed through poetry, literature and music. Through my work, I will call upon the river to re-establish a lost relationship.
Najia Fatima is a Toronto based Pakistani artist who began her artistic training at National College of Arts, Lahore and later moved to Canada where she did her Undergraduate in Visual Studies and Architecture from University of Toronto. Her work brings together the traditional art practices from Pakistan with the contemporary mediums she has practiced in Toronto. She explores global cultural relations and geo-political tensions that influence the treatment of South Asian bodies and landscapes. She addresses specific political events in her lifetime that impacted