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Category: Art & Culture

Memoir

Memoir excerpt: When our deepest secrets are exposed

Was she cursed because once she had garnished a pot of lentils with a fried gecko? A gecko that had fallen off the wall into the frying pan? It had been an accident but it had cost her a much needed job.

The Poetry of Sala de Dos Hermanas (the Hall of Two Sisters)

Boabdil’s mother, Aixa, lived in the Hall of Two Sisters, Sala de Dos Hermanas, named for two marble flagstones on the floor. But it’s the ceiling that takes your breathe away.

El Escorial: Where we Begin to Discard the Non-Essentials

The mathematically precise splendor of Monasterio Real de San Lorenzo de El Escorial pulls me through the last stretch of our uphill walk from the Phillip IItrain station. It’s exquisite.

Summer knitting

Summer Knitting: How to ride out a Fiery August

“But…” I complete her unfinished sentence, “this is what I do. I can’t help myself. Winter crochet or summer knitting, it doesn’t matter. I create.”

Flight of the Bumblebee & Classical Qawwali: unparalleled inspiration

LISTEN: Malaga 2021 A whiff of a familiar scent can immediately take you to the past — sounds do the same: music, a familiar accent, even the faintest sigh. The sound… Read more Flight of the Bumblebee & Classical Qawwali: unparalleled inspiration

Wonderful Memories of Dilip Kumar’s Movies

I snuck out with one of my cousins in the afternoon. We were in my maternal grandparents house in Quetta. While everyone was having a siesta, we found our way to DELIGHT cinema which was less than a kilometer away and I watchedmy first movie TARANA,ترانہ तराना, starring Dilip Kumar.

free women

Free Women: A tale of the 21st century

This is and isn’t the Punjab we grew up in. The flat fertile plains spread out into the horizon. This vlogger’s voice mingles with cawing crows, chirping sparrows, and the occasional sounds of a hoopoe. The blues, greens, and browns of a familiar landscape takes me back to a simpler time.  I can almost smell the wood fire burning in her outdoor kitchen and feel the chill in the air on this misty morning in November. What is not familiar, is her use of technology, her smartphone which captures and uploads her videos every few days.

Selma and Anniqua in Zoom

Art on Zoom: Falling in love with in-between space

Social Media shows us meticulously curated imagery and art: that perfect face, the choreographed tik tok video, the manipulated political message. Through my art, I hope to uncover the beauty in the hidden imperfections that my mind is not yet trained to see.  The blurriness in my lines indicates my feeling about the nebulous nature of life. I continue to capture the complexity of my culture and background in the images I create.

Creative Artist

Stealing like an Artist: How to be Creative

Throughout history people have taught others what they learned from those that came before them. Some of us acknowledge our sources for creative inspiration, others don’t, but no one has ever created something out of nothing.

Contact Us Selma Tufail

Selma Tufail’s “Self-Portrait”

At Play On Words, we believe that the stories we tell reveal truths we may not have recognized otherwise. That’s why we were drawn to Selma Tufail’s “Self-Portrait,” an excerpt of a memoir-in-progress that she is writing with her sister (and fellow Playonwordsian) Anniqua Rana.

Italian fashion

The effortless elegance of Italian fashion and design

Italy is the ideal place to do a course in design, to learn the effortless elegance of Italian fashion and its perfectly imperfect laid back confidence.

Amazing collaboration

The Amazing Collaboration of the Iberians

As we walk between the olive trees along a dirt path, I wonder how old they are. A cylindrical extraction from the bark to the core is enough to find out the age of tree. But olive trees are a challenge because they tend to be gnarled and twisted. Could they be the variety that was brought over from modern day Palestine 6,000 years ago? by the Phoenicians? For some reason, I had thought it was the Greeks.

Dogwood tree in Yosemite May 2011 Dogwood" by Trace Nietert is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Happy to hug a tree in Yosemite

Take the case of the dogwood tree, Cornus florida, belonging to the Phylum Spermatophyta—if you’re wondering. It’s a Native American plant that has been burdened with a heavy crime for its 40-foot frame. Granted it is strong enough to make golf clubs and wooden mallets, but its main crime does seem biologically questionable.

where Phoenicians settled in Iberia

Never a Jezebel: In the footsteps of Phoenicians

We’re all here for something—to enjoy what this peninsula has to offer: olives, silver, purple dye. These Phoenicians, brothers of Jezebel, are my brothers too.

"File:Whitney cabinet1a.jpg" by Aliza Nisenbaum is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Immigrants Find Home at Cantor Art Center

I connected with the work of Aliza Nisenbaum. Like me, she teaches English to immigrants. She taught English at the Immigrant Movement International, a community space in Queens started by the Cuban-born artist and activist Tania Bruguerahe.

Woman with hand held up - Balmy Alley- Art in May

Women, Workers, and Art in May

Finding time to write and create is a luxury for some, a necessity for others. The question remains, how do we recognize those who don’t have time to create and document? Has the world changed since Tillie Olsen wrote about the suppression of those disadvantaged by gender, class, or race?

Dancing Calla Lillies

Art Inspired by Hindustani Classical Music

It’s a creativity enhancer, an aphrodisiac for art, Selma tells me about the mystic music that inspires her most recent painting of calla lilies dancing like whirling dervish.

Misunderstood Artist

A “Misunderstood Artist” or a disastrous attempt at detail?

Children have a mind that has not yet been indelibly marked by the world they live in. This is what fascinates me when I talk to them. They come up with fearless new proposals while older brains – like mine- tend to go with tried and tested designs, calling the process “experience”. When I look back at some of my own youthful experiments with art and creativity, I smile – or laugh. What I wouldn’t give to return to the innocence of my childhood, to the time I believed I was a misunderstood artist.

Beautiful Imperfections

Beautiful Imperfections: Interlocking Threads with Memories

Hand crafted projects rarely are perfect, I remind myself. I have learnt to embrace these imperfections and incompleteness, the wabi sabi (侘寂) of life. The simple Japanese concept of coming to terms with transience,  the imperfections and the incompleteness that life holds.

Tillism

Gaudi and Zafón´s Barcelona

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it.” ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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