Art and the Resistance: A Tribute to Shaheena Shaheen

When famous Spanish painter and artist Pablo Picasso painted one of the iconic paintings in history “Guernica” at his home in Paris, a Gestapo officer asked him “Did you do that?” to which Picasso replied, “No, you did it!”

Whether art should have a political purpose or not has for centuries been a subject of debate. Many argue that art cannot be separated from politics while others believe that the purpose of art is to please without any political objective.

The capitalist market forces commodify the very essence of art where its only purpose is to please the oppressive classes. But at the same time art has also been a form of struggle in the hands of revolutionary forces against oppression.

Our art is the art of resistance, the art of struggle, for a new world. We need to ignite the creative fire within us to untangle the false consciousness amongst our people through art. Art that could preserve our culture and identity. Art that could become a political force and bring a social change. Art that could decolonize our minds.

Shaheena Shaheen’s life was a struggle. Her art was resistance. She used her art to portray the resilience and struggle of women in Balochistan. Her self-portrait reminds us of Frida Kahlo that symbolises rebirth, miseries, but also a forlorn hope.

The art exhibition held in Mastung by various progressive groups pays tribute to her feminist art and her courage to become the voice of the voiceless.

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