On January 10th 2019, Harabel hosted a talk with Basir Mahmood and the audience after the display of some of his art work which are videos that primarily deal with sensitive social topics. The way the topics are narrated is neither noisy nor sensibly. They focus on the common people whom the artist has encountered along the path of life, always keeping in mind his origins, Pakistan. We assume that the main concern is not the fate of a group of people, but the fate of a nation.
To clarify this comes the creation of “In a move. To the better side”, inspired by a real life story where 21 illegal immigrants from Pakistan, on their way to Europe, are drowned on the boat they were being transported from one border to the other. Mahmood feels the excitement and hope of traveling to an international country in search of a better future. For many decades, countless Pakistani people have walked on the same path to ease their poverty or seek new opportunities. In his travel abroad and his first trip to Europe – in an effort to “improve” his experience and learning – commemorating, the artist compares his situation which is the contrary to the despair of those who use extreme measures.
However, for anyone, anywhere no development comes suddenly and unforeseen. Only preparation, effort in time and persistence can change a circumstance. To convey this idea, ironically in some way, all that happens is clarified in the video “Manmade”, which is about a man who wears an official suit for the first time. The suit does not belong to the man who wears it, and he must become someone he is not, changing into clothes that are not his own. The screen remains divided into two parts: one side shows the progress of transformation into something foreign for the human being, and the other shows the result.
Threading the needle: a simple task, but not for an elderly, who does not succeed in achieving his goal. All of this is featured in the video entitled “My Father”, which expresses in itself an inner, personal impression of the author’s relationship with his father, with whom he has a 45 year age gap. Repeated action constantly reinforces the thought of useless hope to attain the goal. The battles of everyday life, which we usually see as irrelevant, are worth the trouble when viewed within the meaning of time and mortality.
The artist shows curiosity and desire to know human kind and his interactive skills in society (“Thank You For Coming”), observing how people can be or become foreign to one another depending on the circumstances. Strange to man is also the sin of murder, beginning with the first one: Abel’s death from his brother Cain. The serves for the artist as the starting point to explore and build new meanings. Among them, he also studies the role of God in all this, such as: a witness, prosecutor, judge, and jury member in the video entitled “Practicing Procedures of Killing”.
Every step of man or mankind, right or wrong, useful or damaging is written in memory and memory is the rescue anchor of a nation, of humanity, and in the video “All voices are mine”, through collected memories, the author hopes to build a story that explores ideas of irresponsibility, imperfection, similarity, memory and forgetfulness in time, through the genre of cinematography (with all the possible ups and downs of this art in Pakistan) and not only.