Apr 15, 2013 - Personal, rant, tumblr    13 Comments

Not all imitation flatters, Summaiya knows it best

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.

Summaiya Jillani with her painting Baar Baar Dekho, Hazaar Baar Dekho

Summaiya Jillani with her painting Baar Baar Dekho, Hazaar Baar Dekho

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 ahmed

Zahra Ahmad’s “design” with the stolen image


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.

Summaiya with her teacher & mentor Duriya Kazi

Summaiya with her mentor Duriya Kazi


zindagggi trust

Summaiya during Summer camp at a Zindagi Trust school


Albert Einstein by Summaiya Jillani

summaiya teaching young kids at T2F

Summaiya teaching some kids about screen painting at Art Bazaar at T2F


TSL marilyn

The T shirt with the authorized image & signature

Sums sunday

Summaiya & her friends, trying to beautify Karachi one graffiti at a time.


Clip to Evernote


  • Appalling. She’s made a mess of that piece of art.

  • Ridiculous thing to do, Zahra Ahmad … specially if you have so many people following you on Facebook and elsewhere. Please take that design off your shelf and apologise to Summaiya. And never ever do that to an artwork again …

  • Zahra can be sued, i think summaiya can win money here winning the case!!

  • Disgusting.

    You guys should post this on her page. She apparently seems to have tons of followers and claims to be designing since 18 years!

    Her fb page ID is zahraahmadfashion

  • That’s frikking insane.

  • Always found Zahra Ahmed’s designs so wannabe..but this is seriously one big low from her side!!

  • Plagiarism is one issue that is as widespread in our society as anything. These people/incidents should be charged under the law to avoid similar situations in future.

    Having said that, I am very diappointed by the writer’s language and tone in the above blog. I mean, you can always talk about the incident and show your disgust but you are no one to pass judgement about whether someone falls in the category of designer or not, you are no one to question the aesthetics of people who follow the designer’s work, you are no one to challenge someone’s whole career under just one incident and using phrases like ‘What a bitch’ are just indecent.

    I believe strongly about this issue and Summaiya has all my support to fight for her right but this blog campaigning for the cause is taking it in some other direction- not a very positive one.

    • So I should not call out a thief but you can pass judgement and call me and my words indecent?
      There is something seriously wrong with this country and its people.

  • Sofia chill kero! It’s just a blog and a very well written one I’d say, not because it has all the praises for me but because it’s an overall interesting -actually a funny read! Give some room to humor while you read things! And I think you didn’t read that woman’s email to me. No harm in calling such person a bitch 🙂

  • So If I wanted to buy a print of your painting Summaiya, where could I / how could I do that?

    • Contact her through her facebook page which is linked in the text

  • This is brilliant!
    On moral grounds fashion person Zahra Ahmad obviously lacks creative flare that she has had to take from artist Summaiya whose work ROCKS!

    Has anyone confronted this fashion being?

    How do you Summaiya as an artist really feel about this and what DO you want to do?

  • Wow….Seems like most of our designers are on the bandwagon of stealing and styling..>Beautiful work by Summaiya…And yes…Name and shame the “designer” on her page and Twitter…..She must be sued I’d say…

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