There are days when you wake up and think that its gonna a be a good day. Today started off as such a day. The temperature was great, there was sunshine out there and I started my day with a near perfect cup of coffee. I had my to-do list with me and was planning to sneak in an hour during the day where I could go out for a walk. As soon as I switched on my computer and went to check facebook, I knew that I will have forego that walk and write this blog.
Those who know me perhaps know Summaiya Jillani as well. Summaiya Jillnai is a Pakistani artist. She is also related to me and like a true Pakistani, I do not let go of any opportunity to promote family members and Summaiya is excellent so everyone – family or otherwise – should sing her praises. Those who follow me on twitter would know that I have urged them in the past to go attend her exhibitions and buy her outstanding work. Last year she painted Marilyn Monroe with a desi look and gained instant fame. Both Summaiya and her painting “Baar Baar Dekho, Hazaar Baar Dekho” were covered by Dawn, Express Tribune, Hello Magazine, Weekly Mag, British website catering to desis The Asians and Huffington Post to name a few. If you go to Tumblr, there is a tag dedicated to her work.
The reason I went on this spiel about how great Summaiya’s work is because I came across a photo on Facebook where a Designer Zahra Ahmad has stolen her iconic painting – yes, I just used the word iconic for a family member – and used it on a kurta “designed” by her. Here is a photo of that kurta on display in Tariq Road’s Dolmen Mall, Karachi.
While she was stealing the painting and using it on her design, she did not even respect it enough to put it in its entirety. She cut off part of the image – Monroe’s feet – to put on super tacky orange and pink stripes. She is that challenged when it comes to aesthetics and she has the gall to call herself a designer. What’s sadder is that this woman has over 342,000 followers on facebook who actually think she is a designer.
Zahra Ahmad, you are either gallactically stupid or exceptionally shameless that you steal the most famous painting that came out in past one year, use it on one of your tacky joras , display it on bloody Dolmen Mall and then think that no one will notice it!
Seriously, this Zahra Ahmed should be taken to task. I mean all designers seek “inspiration” but to steal someone’s work like this without either seeking their permission to use it or paying them royalty is outright stealing. If we had better copy right laws, that woman Zahra Ahmed – I refuse to call her a designer – should have been sued for everything she is worth. While I am venting can I just go and say, “What a bitch!”
Summaiya Jillani is a conscientious and socially responsible artist. She has volunteered time for students of Zindagi Trust last summer and other schools and has also been involved in campaigns to beautify the city of Karachi. She has also been part of a theatre festival by The Citizen’s Foundation and performed in a play Aik Se Barh Kar Aik produced by Katha and directed by Shahid Shafaat. She is also a young person who is just starting out as an artist and those who steal her work to make some quick money should be ashamed. The only authorized vendor who can use this image is The Second Layer who produced T shirts with the picture which also bear the artist’s signature. If you believe in intellectual property rights, you can show solidarity by joining Summaiya Jillani’s facebook page and view her work. You can also order the T shirt with authorized image from The Second Layer. The royalty from the sale of those T shirts will go to the artist. While you are at it, boycott Zahra Ahmad. There is imitation that flatters and there is imitation that is highway robbery, Zahra Ahmad’s imitation falls into latter.