Tuesday, January 30, 2007


16" x 20" Oil on Canvas


mystic said...

Wah wah wah !!

It feels real..I liked shade/shadow of basket behind inside blue

plus brightness given to fruit...appears like pearls

plus details in making of baskets....

que sera sera said...

Thanks mystic...I'm flattered :) I still have to show it to my instructor. Lets see what he says about it.

Anonymous said...

It's very nice.

My kid is also interested in art but I'm kinda confuse about it as art supplies cost more and I hardly see Regular artist earning decent living. But I see you're doing great so is it possible to make a living out of this or it should remain as a hobby ;). I mean would you let your kid to pursue it as a career?


Aya said...

Salams...its been quite a while..:)
Absolutely love this one...would you be doing some more in blue?

cow said...

did you make this?
its gorgeous.... love the way the grapes reflect in the background...

que sera sera said...

Jammie: Well art supplies do cost a lot and it doesn’t help being graduate students in the US to buy them but I feel that you need to broaden your horizon a bit. A decent living in my opinion is one which gives you a sense of fulfillment and painting does that for me. My daughters have excellent artistic ability and I (and my husband too) do hope that they pursue it as a career. But on the other hand if they decide to join an area for which we have little appreciation e.g. Engineering or Information Technology, I would still encourage them to pursue their dreams, without prejudice. In addition, and contrary to your observation, I have frequently seen regular artists making a very decent living. I guess it is all a function of where you want to see yourself in your chosen field.

Some regular Pakistani artists whose work I absolutely adore and who are doing great (or were when they were alive) include (among many others) Guljee, Sadqain, Mansoor Rahi, Shakir Ali, Saleema Hashmi and Nahid Raza. Last I checked, I couldn’t afford to buy their work with our current income. You may also be surprised to know that Pakistani artists trained in South Asian miniature painting are the hottest thing on the New York art scene. But trust me it is not making big bucks in New York which motivates them to do art, and I say this from experience!

I am sorry for this rather long reply but quite honestly it just puts me off when people use contested terms such as “decent living” in a financial context only and think they have covered the whole gambit of possibilities. You are right when you say “apparently I am doing great” because I actually am and partly because I am able to paint; but then I don’t sell, or for that matter even display, most of the work I do!

que sera sera said...

Aya: Thanks! Hope you are doing well :)might do another blue but have not planned any yet.

Cow: Thanks! yes, I painted it. Really liked your new pictures but could not post a comment for some odd reason! Will try posting it again in a while. Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply.

When parents invest big money (especially hard earned) to send a kid to school they want to see its worth. Especially when one need to feed a family. Otherwise to become a learned man you don't need to go to big colleges you can learn it on your own pace.

Since you're from another country and learning new tricks here so I guess in the end you'll able to get back your investment. Last I check US trained artist are big hit in Asia. All the names you mentioned are indeed very big but my point is how many from thousands become one.


que sera sera said...

Jammie: Thank you for your reply. First of all I didn’t mean to offend anyone and like you I just expressed what I believe in.

As a parent, I don’t think spending money on your children is an investment, you do it simply out of love, which is selfless, so I don’t expect anything in return from them either.

As for feeding families, I believe that every child who comes into this world brings her “Rizq” with her and no matter how hard we try we can’t increase what is preordained.

My investment, as I said earlier, is in enriching myself and in honing my abilities and I already am getting the return, even though it is not monetary.

Finally, to clarify my reference to NCA artists: these artists specialized in South Asian miniatures which if you know is not mainstream or as such commercially oriented art; some of them applied these techniques of miniature painting on bigger canvases which, by chance, became a big hit on the New York art scene. They could have chosen to play it safe and follow standard practices and be, as you say, in thousands; instead, they chose to experiment and invested their time and creativity in what was contrary to popular opinion and it paid them off.

Anonymous said...

So what is your advice to this mother she just stay at home so "Rizq" can just come to her door step. You know she'll be happy to be home with her other kids as God knows what are they doing as there is no supervision.



Anonymous said...

Link got broken so resubmitting it here

I'm always surprised by well off people's logic that Allah will provide then why so many kids (including Muslim) go to bed hungry. May be it is true who already have millions to spare but I find conditions in third world countries very bleak as hard working people are not paid wisely. Rich gets richer by exploiting poor emotionally and financially. Sorry for this rant but you've got me going. As everyday I try to fight for minimum wage system in Pakistan but no one in corrupt Islamabad wants to listen. So I try to reach sensible Islamabadians so I can make a difference.



que sera sera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
que sera sera said...

Well I think you are mixing two things i.e. Rizq being preordained and the need to earn it. For me, as a matter of faith, if this woman decides to stay at home her Rizq would reach her. (I don’t know how and I don’t know when). If she dies then she had no further Rizq for her. Now as to your question: should she stop trying to earn money? No. Because this is how she has to earn it and what other reason can you give for her misfortune but the twist of fate which resulted in her birth in a poor household? This may sound cruel to you but you and I could equally have been in her place, but the fact is that we are not and do you have a better explanation than divine intervention for this fact?

Your original point was about getting a return on one’s financial investment in one’s children. This woman’s investment in her children seems to me to be in giving them a hands on lesson to do hard work and face challenges bravely. Do we, who are more fortunate then her, give our children anything better in terms of teaching them how to live life? My point, however, is that we should limit ourselves to teaching our children just that; and do our best to see that they are able to achieve “their” dreams. It is my belief that hard work, honesty and forthrightness will get my children what “they” want. If my children are immensely financially successful in a field which is close to the marketplace; but they get to this position through dishonest practices or cheating and lying, I would feel that I have failed and did not invest enough in telling them what really matters. Money, while is important, is nevertheless secondary to many other things.

As a final note: let me congratulate you on doing such good work for raising minimum wage in Pakistan. I also have a graduate degree in politics and have closely studied developing countries and their problems. But let me first tell you that Islamabadians are no more corrupt then Washingtonians or Londoners etc. and the current Iraq war gives us several lessons in the politics of developing countries. Let me also assure you that the conditions in the developing countries are intricately linked to the absence of similar conditions in developed countries. For instance you may want to consider the new rules for oil exploration in Iraq http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2005/crudedesigns.htm#rethinking. Or if you prefer visit http://www.parstimes.com/gallery/ebadi_williams_press/ to see the press conference of two women Nobel laureates on a violence free world, focused on Iran and US relationship. The work that you are doing (alongwith these Nobel laureates) helps bring to the front these otherwise forgotten issues and I have great respect for that. To me it reflects on how your parents must have invested their time in making you realize that we must stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, even if doing so has no monetary gains for us. I am pasting here a link (forwarded to me by my husband) to what I think is the best short summary of Pakistan’s political history http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n01/ali_01_.html . Interestingly, the incentive for corruption in many instances is located outside the borders of Pakistan. This does not absolve corrupt Pakistanis but it doesn’t make them more vile then their western counterparts either. Don’t you think so?

I wish you all the success in your endeavors to improve the condition of the Pakistani poor and will be glad to help you in any way.

Anonymous said...

Two wrongs never make a right. Conditions in the developed world are not perfect but better, that's why you and I are here ;). Quality Education and health care (in most countries) is free for all and unfortunate and disable can benefit from welfare system. Another point, corruption is everywhere but here I can manage well without paying Rishwat to government servants. In Pakistan everyone from custom officer, visa official, and license renewal officer needs money to do the job which they are already getting paid. If one wants to open a business then you have to pay insane amount of money to Army officials. No wonder half of the property in Pakistan is owned by them. They send their kids to foreign universities by exploiting the scholarship system there. It never ends only face changes and who suffers poor people as the zakat which every citizen in Pakistan pays never end up at their door step.

For Iraq, why didn’t Muslim world and its neighbors stopped US from going there? Whatever US doing is taking care of its citizens, like I said we too benefit form it. I guess your kids goto state run schools so they are getting world class education free like mine. Pakistan, Iran and Big old Saudi need to take care of their own so people will never think about invading their neighbors but they all are too busy with extending their bank balance.

As soon as I figure out how to bypass this rishwat system (which I can't afford) I'll look for other partners and hope you join us.


que sera sera said...

Well I have lived in Pakistan all my life, excepting past 5 years, and never paid a penny in rishwat and I managed just fine. Yes it was frustrating at times but so what? Its the same kind of frustration that you experience when dealing with corrupt officials in Islamabad, does this mean you will stop making efforts to raise the minimum wage?

As for the healthcare system in the US... do you really think that the richest country in the world with 15.7% of the population without health insurance, is a sign of a good health care system. (this is according to US Census Bureau 2004 http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/005647.html ). If good health care is a function of how much money you have, Pakistan too has excellent health facilities.

As for scholarships being controlled by Army officials I can't say I agree with you. I know several people in my own family including my husband who took the GREs and competed with everyone else for admission and funding in the US and none of them ever had to deal with an army official. So there must be some exception to what you believe is the general rule.

Whether Muslims world (and which is a rather erroneous term) stopped US from invading Iraq or the US invaded Iraq on false accusations. For me, both the things are incorrect. Your logic seems to me to be that you would rather be on the side of the exploiter. I don't blame you and respect your decision. But you must avoid generalizations based on your experience, which though unfortnate, could very well be exceptional.

I wonder if you have watched Syriana - the movie. If not, do that it might help you understand some of the mechanics of how the US operates. As for your views on Islamic countries I can send you a brief peer reviewed article which empirically proves that Islamic fundamentalism has only flourished in countries which were supported by the US throughout the 20th century and the only Muslim countries which have been able to stay clear of this menace are the ones which could stay clear of the US influence.

In addition, I really hope this is the end of this discussion. You are entitled to your views and so am I. I feel bad that you have nothing good to say about Pakistan but for me it is the best place in this world and I can't wait to go back when my husband finishes his Ph.D here.