Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lala Rukh artist, minimalist, activist and feminist




This is Lahore, 1982, and a group of fifteen jovial women pose for the camera – 1982: General Zia ul-Haq’s regime, i.e., the time when the anti-women laws were established. There’s laughter, there are smiles, there’s liberation; of like-mindedness but the salient feature of this photograph as I read is undying, maddening – power. The photograph was taken at the Women’s Action Forum, WAF’s national convention. The WAF which was in direct response to the inequity of the prevalent system went on relentlessly for its cause of justice for all the years to come – it nurtured women of substance from entrepreneurs and educationists to more…
Lala Rukh (center space/on the ground) with the short haircut that she has maintained till now and her pair of glasses, seems like the fulcrum of this group of confident ladies. She covers (almost) the entire foreground of the photograph, she chooses to be at the forefront. ..
The scope is endless and although the sense of horizon prevails because of the larger foreground I cannot differentiate between the sky and the sea, the clouds or the waves. They stand together and alone. Artist, minimalist, activist and feminist, Rukh has been infinitely true to her ideology. Her drawings and photographic works are simplistic in form yet the magnanimity is such that rivers within oceans stream on paper… “Rukh is the pioneer of photographic, minimalist tradition” Blackness is the environment of the work but lightness steps forward. Earlier director and founder of the National College of Arts MA Visual Arts department, cofounder All Pakistan Music Conference (1960), Women’s action forum 1981 and Vasl artists trust (2000), Rukh has been looking at horizons and impossibilities throughout her practice. She has done it with poise, like the ocean – there was noise only where it mattered. The visuals stretch beyond (I may say) even the mind’s eye. It’s a travelogue of ‘nothingness’, fulfilment and resurrection… Rukh’s surface is her medium, from acrylic and carbon paper, to photographic paper and serigraph print – there is no separation of form and content, structure and substance.
The artist’s observations as true to her imagery don’t hold tangible parameters. Her serigraph prints depict the ancient city’s water gardens at different times of the day. It is environment in its wholeness, through the gradient/shift of time. What is borrowed and what is left behind and how invisibility and visibility play games with each other – all is seen in the dawn and dusk Sigiria 11 prints where the ancient city’s water gardens are a constant through a day’s images.
Defying inequality has been her purpose – and so drawing a balance comes in. The visual titled mirror image is a 1997 work where two newsprints, equal images are pasted on graph paper. There’s parallel confrontation. Babri Mosque (destroyed in 1992 by Indian fundamentalists) and a Hindu temple (violently demolished in Pakistan as a response) are somewhere camouflaged in a permanent blackness. This is activism on paper.
The artist is a devotee of nature and has found meaning in particles, points and shapes….to oblivion and transcendence. Through her life, ‘less’ has been the supreme answer to more. Water knows which lines can take it to the sky…
Sound is the sublime of free space. From our ECG’s; the systematic ‘rhythm of the heart’ to waves of waves, from overlapping of shrieks to echoes in distance – Rukh has touched all in her visuals. Hieroglyphics IV and V take the square angled qat (one unit of measure) that is the beginning and cord of calligraphic writing, its form and size and compose it with the fixed rhythmic patterns of south Asian Raga on carbon paper. So in retrospect Lala Rukh’s deep-rooted affiliation with calligraphy and music is unified and hence taken to the point – where a visual begins to play its own music.


I was at this aftaar-meeting (in a local restaurant) yesterday with a group of artists/activists from a collective I’m a part of. I opened the menu and we laughed a bit at this section of drinks(normal juices) titled ‘Detox drinks’ and the tagline with it that promised a cleansed/detoxified body. ‘Detoxification’ is the latest and ‘in’ thing nowadays and strangely while sitting there I thought about this person/artist and the piece I was writing on her… I smirked in my mind. If we have to search for the antithesis of excess baggage and actual detoxification of character, Lala Rukh maybe the definition. A life that stands for what it stands – does what it does and carves, paints, draws the lines that make the real mark; where light becomes visible in-between all that is around it.
by Sehr Jalil Raja
All work images courtesy of Grey Noise Gallery.

Sehr Jalil Raja is a visual artist and writer based in Lahore (BFA, NCA 2006) and (MA HonsVisual Arts, NCA 2015), She is currently teaching at NCA and The City School.
REFERENCES
“New Art from Pakistan Press « Thomas Erben Gallery – New York, NY.” Thomas Erben Gallery New York NY. 2010. Accessed June 20, 2015.
“Women’s Action Forum National Convention, Lahore 1982.” Connecting the Dots. November 17, 2006. Accessed June 20, 2015.
“The Painter and the Sea.” The Painter and the Sea. Accessed June 20, 2015.
“Pakistan.” The Stunning World of ‘s Minimalist Art. Accessed June 15, 2015.
“Nazreen Sansoni.” Nazreen Sansoni. Accessed June 27, 2015.
“Artist Gallery | GreyNoise.” Artist Gallery | GreyNoise. Accessed June 16, 2015.
“Lala Rukh, Sharjah Art Museum. Sharjah Biennial 12.” Lala Rukh, Sharjah Art Museum. Sharjah Biennial 12. Accessed June 27, 2015.
– See more at: http://www.artnowpakistan.com/articles.php?article=Lala-Rukh:-A-Visual-Synopsis#sthash.IhDGHxsz.dpuf













http://www.artnowpakistan.com/lala-rukh-a-visual-synopsis/
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Monday, December 11, 2017

Demands for achieving rural women’s RTFN.


1. Guarantee rural women producers’ access, control, management and ownership of all natural and productive resources on which they depend. 
2. Recognize and support rural women’s knowledge, culture, traditions and practices (in relation to agriculture, fisheries, forestry, livestock rearing and other food producing sectors) and their ecological understanding and sustainable practices should inform the management and conservation of resources. 
3. Guarantee and implement decent work for rural women workers based on existing international instruments in a non-discriminatory manner. 
4. Guarantee that systems are put in place to ensure that rural women who engage in domestic work are seen as significantly contributing to the economy and receive social security benefits. 
5. Recognize the “intertwined subjectivities” of woman and child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding framed through the lens of women’s rights throughout their lifespan – especially women’s and girls’ rights to SRHR. 
6. Introduce policies and laws that enable States to regulate and avoid any undue interference of for-profit or commercially-motivated non-state actors in rural women’s RTFN. 
7. Guarantee the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 
8. Guarantee an adequate legal framework for the realization of rural women’s fundamental rights and freedoms based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
 9. Ensure the independence and transparency of monitoring mechanisms in the context of the 2030 Agenda: these must be based on human rights, be free of any commercial or corporate undue influence and conflicts of interest, and ensure the full participation of the most affected by hunger and malnutrition, especially rural women. 
10. Ensure the full realization of the RTFN of rural women within the framework of food sovereignty.


http://www.righttofoodandnutrition.org/reinforcing-rural-womens-rights-amid-2030-agenda-adoption
http://www.fian.org/fileadmin/media/publications_2017/Letters_and_statements/CSW_Written_Submission__20171020.pdf

The present document is based, inter alia, on the joint FIAN International submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for its General Discussion on Rural Women during its 56th Session in October 2013 and highlights the structural causes for violations of rural women’s right to food and nutrition and related human rights.
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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Women’s rights have been historically isolated from the human RTFN within legally-binding language of key international human rights treaties


This structural isolation within human rights treaties has further aggravated the realities of rural women. Women are invisible in the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the women’s RTFN – beyond its limited link to the right to health – was omitted in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and both CEDAW and the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) only gave mention to pregnant and lactating women’s nutritional status. This poor reflection of women’s RTFN in international treaties has contributed to the marginalization and exclusion of women from decision-making processes that affect their local food systems, with a particular impact on the social groups most affected by hunger and malnutrition, especially rural women and girls. This neglect and exclusion combined with a wide-spread lack of knowledge of international human rights frameworks that could support rural women’s claims result in women and girls being unaware of and unable to access the powerful tool that is human rights to hold those in power to account. As a result, governments fail to implement effective measures to protect and advance the RTFN of rural women and instead implement country-level economic and development plans that directly respond to the demands and orientation of the neoliberal global economy and governments and that violate the RTFN by enabling the grabbing of affected groups’ natural resources, discriminating against women small-scale food producers and their food systems.



The present document is based, inter alia, on the joint FIAN International submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for its General Discussion on Rural Women during its 56th Session in October 2013 and highlights the structural causes for violations of rural women’s right to food and nutrition and related human rights.
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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Indigenous women and girls are most vulnerable and marginalized in many countries of the world, where they make up an important part of the rural population.


Progress on the rights of indigenous women and girls is central to the reduction of poverty, food security and nutrition, access to land and natural resources, and the protection of traditional knowledge, among others. While the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017, its implementation is lagging behind and today, indigenous communities continue to suffer higher rates of poverty, discriminatory support policies and health services. For example, breastfeeding rates are the lowest in First Nations communities in Canada, in aborigines’ communities in Australia or Maori communities in New Zealand. In isolated communities and on reserves, reproductive health services, prenatal, birthing, post-natal and breastfeeding supports are often not available, or not culturally adapted, let alone in local languages, requiring women to travel to urban centers, isolating pregnant women and new mothers from their families and communities at very vulnerable times in their lives.




 The present document is based, inter alia, on the joint FIAN International submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for its General Discussion on Rural Women during its 56th Session in October 2013 and highlights the structural causes for violations of rural women’s right to food and nutrition and related human rights.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are central in women’s RTFN.


Rural women’s right to food and nutrition (RTFN)


 The gender dimension of poverty – 60% of chronically hungry people are women and girls13 – and its interlinkages with food and nutrition security and SRHR cannot be dismissed.14 Discrimination against women results in all rural women facing difficulties in their ability to make informed decisions related to their SRHR and in their own nutrition and that of their children and families, with intergenerational and community-wide repercussions for the RTFN. These difficulties are particularly serious among rural girls and are exacerbated by interference from commercially-motivated non-state actors who introduce industrial/corporate diets that lead to non-communicable diseases, and push the corporate-driven narrative that emphasizes medicalized technical solutions to structural problems of a political, economic, and social nature.




 The present document is based, inter alia, on the joint FIAN International submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for its General Discussion on Rural Women during its 56th Session in October 2013 and highlights the structural causes for violations of rural women’s right to food and nutrition and related human rights.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

The livelihoods of rural women producers are particularly under threat

Access to resources by rural women producers who depend on farming, fisheries, livestock rearing, gardening and the gathering of forest food often lack recognition and support by the State,7 the natural resources8 on which they depend are threatened by climate change, and land grabbing9 and other forms of natural resource grabbing severely undermine rural women’s food and nutrition security and food sovereignty. To make things worse, efforts that aim to respond to the degradation and over-exploitation of natural resources often ignore rural women’s roles and dependence on these resources for their livelihood.






 The present document is based, inter alia, on the joint FIAN International submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for its General Discussion on Rural Women during its 56th Session in October 2013 and highlights the structural causes for violations of rural women’s right to food and nutrition and related human rights.


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Friday, December 1, 2017

Rural women workers are employed in all sector of the rural economy, yet lack access to decent work

 
While rural workers are often denied access to even the most basic of rights covered in the ILO’s core conventions10, in particular to freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively, the situation of rural women workers  is even more detrimental as rural women’s jobs are usually seasonal, part-time and low-wage.11 While the unequal division of care work12 is a result of the patriarchal norms and practices that discriminate against women, it continues to serve as the backbone of the formal economy without any of the needed social and legal protection systems in place that would enable rural women to adequately care and provide for their children, families and communities.
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