The Collector (On art and the people who put it up) Part 2

Champa Chinioti begum on Performance art.

After spending the entire morning trying to understand how could Tracey Emin’s work could possibly be considered as art, Champa Chinioti begum stared down at the list she had carefully written down on her imported notebook, which still had its price tag on.

Things to discuss with our rich friends on Sunday

1- Tracey Emin’s ( check the pronunciation of Emins and find out why did Mr Saatchi buy her bed and her dirty underwear. And did Mr Saatchi get it washed after he bought it. Does this Saatchi chap actually exist?)

Is this real art?

Is this a real artist?

2- Contemporary Pakistani artists (Find out if Chugtai comes under the contemporary category also find out the exact definition of the word contemporary)

3- Performance art (Google performance art and avant garde art. LEARN EACH AND EVERYONE WORD)

4-Princess cut diamonds and where to get the best quality ones.

5- How to keep a check on the amount of sugar and milk the servants put in their teas ( or should I pretend I let them use as much sugar and milk as they want?)

6- Rashid Rana (Find out of he’s the famous installation artist? Is he also the one who made that camel stuffed in the suitcase, which Charles Saatchi eventually bought?)

Why is there a camel in this suitcase?

7- where to find a good tailor from?

She then went online to find out upcoming exhibitions and shows. To her surprise she found out that there was a residency happening in Karachi, which had 3 foreign artists. Not only were there 3 foreigners – but also all the work produced would be in the form of films, performances and sound pieces. “ howwell informed and educated will I sound when I would talk about this with that sugar mill owner who collects art ” , she thought to herself. And there and then made up her mind to attend at least one performance by one of the gora artists.


On her way to the first performance of the day, Champa begum opens up this article she had printed out on performance art .

“the art of performing simply cannot be ignored. in some ways artists use the spectator as an emotional reflector Performance art requires as almost as much contribution from the viewer as it does from the artist- ” . This confused her quite a bit as she thought by contribution she would be expected to pay the artist some money for performing. She didn’t worry though because like all rich people she had enough money in her wallet to feed a family of 5 for a week.

She told her driver to park the car the second she spotted a number of quirky yet educated looking people . some of them even looked rich. “so this is what the arty crowd looks like” , she smilingly told herself. There were women who were smoking and laughing loudly. They even had a different way of walking and talking. Champa begum wondered if there was anyway she could learn to walk and talk like that before her dinner for rich people on Sunday.

Before she could figure that issue out the performance started.


A rickshaw drove up. And out of it got the pretty German artist , Elisabeth – Champa couldn’t believe it . Uptil now she had only ever seen poor people sit in rickshaws. Never before in her privileged life had she seen a rich person sit in unhygienic and unsafe rickshaw, much less someone with a foreign passport and actually European. She was completely shocked and she kept staring on.

Elisabeth walked up and stood in the middle of a crowd – which comprised of the arty liberals , waiters and street children. ‘What a strange mix of people’- she thought . She had never seen rich people stand so comfortably with poor people before .She was amazed and tried to look as comfortable with the poor people as the arty crowd did. But deep down inside she was palpitating. Her palpitation
attack got even stronger when the artist Elisabeth walked towards the crowd and whistled at . Again her eyes popped out and her mind raced as she tried to comprehend exactly what was happening. To her greater shock people started whistling back to her. The first few seconds she was more taken aback by the audience who seemed to be enjoying this ‘art’ . she wondered how could this audience possibly derive something intellectual out of this experience .

For the next few minutes the artist and the audience whistled back and forth to each other. As more and more whistles were exchanged between the artist and the spectators, the more worried she became about the state of the local art scene and more importantly about how would she possibly talk about this performance, intelligently with that art collecting sugar mill owner.


After a mentally exhausting and surprisingly confusing evening of trying to immerse herself in performance art she tried to unwind with a big cup of tea and called up her equally rich sister and lamented , “ im telling you. I miss the times when art used to be a portraits of pretty women, flowers and landscapes, now there’s so much information and obscenity. How did those people enjoy whistles , did they view it as art? Is it Qiyamat ki nishani?? Or a conspiracy by the British and the Americans to control our minds, what do you think Jaani?”



Categories: The World I Know

Author:Emaan Mahmud

Emaan Mahmud has been told by her mother that she'll never get a good rishta if she keeps up with these blogs.


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5 Comments on “The Collector (On art and the people who put it up) Part 2”

  1. April 17, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    Hahaha 😀 I love these manic aunty-ji chronicles of the art world!

  2. Zeeshan
    April 17, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    yesterday i met Champa Begum in a grand party. (the food was delicious , the ambience was great, the chicks were hot but coming back to my point) after reading ur this article she was very upset. she said what is the problem of this tiny girl,,,, whats her name?…… ah yes!….. Emaan. Champa said Emaan thinks that only she knows abt art or she can only undersatnd art… champa actually gave me a msgs to convey to you that she is ready to have an open debate with you on art…. she said she knows wat is modern, cubism, abstract or what u called ”contemporary”..

    • April 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      tell her i look forward to meeting her dressed in my latest designer lawn jora.

      • Kaif
        April 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

        mee too Emaan. i want to see this Champa aunty…she challenged u! hmmm take loads of pic of ur meet and post them

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