My dream come true!
So, finally when my book launch took place I realized it happened exactly the way I wanted it. A big ‘thank You’ to my Allah Mian – who knew, and miraculously got it done.
I mean, to have a book launch is tough enough. Then a Solo Painting’s Exhibition is also difficult. Then to have both together is even tougher. No wonder, every organization I asked, would just find reasons to push me out of their domain. (They did this by asking me for a huge amount.) So naturally, I was very upset.
It was a lunch meeting with my friend Aisha, at Juicy Gossip just over a week ago, when I realized nothing was working. The phone rang: Aania asked me, ‘how are things going?’
‘I’m done with all this.’ I told her feeling extremely upset and hurt. ‘ I’ll just have a virtual book launch.’ She is member of our Generation Rahi art group and is the one who arranges our annual group painting exhibitions, and other events. She is a good friend and a great artist too.
‘” ‘Wait, give me ten minutes, I’ll get back to you. I cannot have you upset, Shireen Api.’ She said.
Aisha GM my friend, was also busy on the phone getting me 50% cuts from another well-known organization – that too was a huge amount. You see, I want to spend on my next book. – Something which would be in the hands of my reader. Rather than spend it all on just one evening.
Within ten minutes I got Aania’s call:
‘It’s all done. AQS is ready to do it for you. Just ring this number, and tell the manager what you want.’ AQS gallery has merged with Nirvana, a very exclusive restaurant of Islamabad, now also owned by Nadia Hashwani.
Aanay immediately designed the invitation for me.
I couldn’t believe it!
It happened just the way I wanted it. On the exact date I wanted.
On November 9th 2017, celebrating the seventieth birthday of Pakistan, on the birthday of Allama Iqbal, my dream came true. It was important to have it on the birthday of the man who realized that Pakistan has to come into existence. That visionary man, that modern thinker, that man who was filled with the fragrances of the past visionaries like Muhammad (PBUH), Rumi, Goethe and the rest of the great thinkers of times immemorial; to have the vision to ‘see’ times still to come.
Dr. Ayub Sabir one of the speakers at the opening, mentioned how amazing the visions of Iqbal were. Even the emergence of a city like Islamabad! He sprouted out poetry of Iqbal mentioning these facts that we see in our everyday lives today. The emergence of so many Muslim countries and the spread of Islam, included.
My presentation at the beginning of the program showed glimpses from my previous exhibitions and different pages in my book. Which is an English translation of Allama Iqbal’s Payam-e-Mashriq’s first two poems.
M. Hadi Husain is the translator from Persian to English.
I showed the comments of Momin, Zoha, and Samid on getting their copies of the book, on Facebook.
The fact that Tamania of ‘Urdu Mom’ (who lives in Calgary, Canada) and has a Vlog for children on story books in Urdu. How she had made a video on my book and loved it for what it is. She specially loved the paintings. I was thrilled. She had emailed it to my daughter Nataliya in Seattle, and she forwarded it to me. I shared some of the photographs also from my last ten solo painting exhibitions.
Yes! This is what I dreamed of when going into this very ambitious venture. – To see it in the hands of the youth. It is their right to have it in their hands, as its their heritage: The most beautiful offering of poetry and thoughts that this region has to offer to the world of today and tomorrow.
(I know you are thinking, ‘she is really getting carried away!’.)
You are right, I am.
So, then Atle Hetler was invited to speak on his Norwegian point of view. He is the proactive factor of Pakistan And Norwegian Association in Islamabad. The members are mostly literary and personalities of local and international origins. So, he mentioned several Norwegian poets and how basically, we all connect at the human level. Being a man or a woman come later, and the matter or different religions and localities comes even further down the lane. We all must connect at the human level. Exactly. That is the level at which Iqbal’s poetry connects with all. That is why it is so amazing.
Hajra Mansoor the chief guest for the book launch came and spoke about how the ‘sweetness of Shireen is reflected throughout the book.’ She smiled and narrated her experiences of having me as her student at her studio.
Mansoor Rahi, the chief guest for my 11th Solo Painting Exhibition spoke on how careful he is about praising any artist. He mentioned how students try to get him to praise their art work, but he says I never give them any false impressions. However, he felt that my work had really found its own niche, and the landscapes have got my own unique style now, which he is happy to say is really good.
Mustafa Chaudhry, a thirteen year old came and recited some of the verses from the book, which received great applause from the audience.
After that, everyone took a break for the Hi-tea which was waiting outside the auditorium. The tasty snacks were much appreciated, and a lot of interaction took place between the speakers and the public.
There were around forty persons who had arrived for the occasion. This, in spite of the blocked streets and a lot of uncertainty in the city, several journalists and television personel made their videos and took pictures and interviews.
Then the ribbon for the gallery was cut by Mansoor Rahi who went into the gallery, followed by the rest of the group. Over forty paintings were hanging in the room to be seen and reviewed.
Thus ended a beautiful evening with completion of a dream of mine that day. Stay blessed, my dear Reader. Never give up on your dreams, no matter how far fetched they may seem to be.