Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Think of summers, desi happenings, Celebration Square,Mississauga,  and the name that rings almost instantly in one’s head is Mosiac Festival.

Yes, Mosaic Festival 2012,  is back for the seventh time, to the city of Mississauga.

Whether it is a revisit of one’s soul to the rich culture of South Asia, sitting thousands of miles away the mainland, or just a free of cost, fun packed, evenings loaded with desiness, Mosaic has them all.

For me personally, Mosaic is a pilgrimage to my ‘desi to the core’ identity.
To my utmost thrill, this very identity through images was the theme of exhibition “Image and Identity”, with which Mosaic has come back in 2012, with a bang.

The photo exhibition of Canada based artists was all about their ‘identity’, as they see it. And was curated by Asma Mahmood, and Ali Adil Khan.
Exactly the way South Asia is a mosaic of various faiths and sub ethnicities, bound loosely by a common culture, the exhibition too depicted the various ways different Canada based South Asians associate themselves to their desi identity-be it through their faith, customs, values or even the social issues unique to the region.

In words describing it,  on the exhibition flyer were,

”This exhibition presents images that initiate the dialogue between the particular ability of the art of photography to narrate a story and capture the essence of an image that portrays beliefs, and feelings of the subject and its surroundings.”

Walking through some of the mages, that I could get hold of, you would realise what all I wrote above was just an understatement.

Beginning with the kaleidoscope of cultures that South Asian identity is so intertwined with, is a collage of colors by P. Mansaram:

Niqab by Fouzia Baloch, who came to Canada, as an year old infant, and calls herself an ‘evolved and empowered’ woman, but however, could not evade the identity, that millions of women back home  are associated with-a veil. The veil could be just  the physical cover behind  their yet to be realized potentials, or metaphorically a ‘veil of ignorance’ that these women have to their rights as equal humans.

Akshay Batra who is relatively a new immigrant to Canada, reminisces the solace he got while visiting the mountaneous resort of Dharamshala, in North India, which is also home to the Dalai Lama, and has many Buddhist temples. The picture here is of a woman, in the tranquil environs of one of these temples

A Human Cage~ captured in Dhaka by ….. . And the picture here does the speaking, for itself.

No South Asian can evade the reality of horrors caused by the Kashmir Conflict, which has led to 3 wars, numerous conflicts, and hostilities in the region. And here, after a little, uncorrupted, unpoliticed toddler, sticks out a lotus, begging for peace.A Kashmiri boy‘.

Are the two sides listening?

The next series tell a whole story of a million words through images. This is a bitter reality, that cuts across all cultures, faiths and regions in South Asia.

As narrated by Asif Reza the photographer, these pictures are a part of a larger series, he had exhibit in one of the posh art galleries of Karachi, Pakistan.

And to the utter disbelief of the visitors, the pictures he had taken were  from a location, merely 100 metres away from the place of exhibit.

The exhibit, he said was to ‘open the eyes’ of the rich and the fortunate to the ‘invisible’ world of the ‘have nots’ who  simply co-exist with them. He described the former group as living in their own ‘bubbles’, with apathetic ‘blinders’ on.

Why did he choose children? “Well because it’s their life that matters the most,  they are our treasures.”

The smiles on their faces, and the twinkle in their eyes, are only transient. The moment,  they will  realizes that all that life has to offer them  is the ‘ narrow alleys’ of opportunities, under the prevailing circumstances, they would all be gone, only to be replaced by a life full of hopes vanished, and dreams shattered.

Thinking in terms of sheer numbers put  together,  the 65% of youth ( below 35yrs of age) that constitute our 1.6 billion South Asians from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, they form a billion strong, almost one seventh of the polulation on earth. If allowed to realize their potential, they could be a tremendous human resource.

One could only wish if some sense could be drilled in minds of the power greedy, that instead of fighting each other, we the South Asians, need to fight the common enemies of ill health, poverty, hunger, inequality….

Sigh !

However, this is just a showcase, that Mosiac took off with. There is a great,  more positive part of our desi identities,,  including from music, dance, poetry, movies to food, clothes and jewellary that is promised in Mosaic Festival from 16-19 August, 2012.
All of you are cordially invited :).

P.S. For further details of the programs visit the website:

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