22nd -30th September 2021

The word that fascinates me the most is tapestry. I noticed that it applies almost everywhere, whether it is tapestry of DNA in a human body, tapestry in quilts and garments, or tapestry of races and cultures in a country. This is also the first word that comes to mind if I try to summarize my experience as a photographer in Pakistan, especially having photographed lives, festivities and cultures of many communities and religious minorities. Hence, I saw it fit to title my show as Tapestry of Faiths.

When I was studying in the same college, where this exhibition is being held today, I was reflecting on my purpose in life (as all students do at some point) and how I could create an impact as a photojournalist and I started thinking of subject matters close to my heart.

A few years before I was born, my father was diagnosed with abdominal tuberculosis, which had reached a critical stage. During the surgery he lost so much blood that he urgently needed two bags of blood. Not only that, but precisely the exact same blood type as well. Two friends of his stepped up and gave their blood. One of them was his best friend, Ronald, who happened to be a Christian. This saved my father’s life.

For years it made me think of how everyone's blood is the same - regardless of their faith. It made me think of humanity. I wanted to better understand a more ‘plural’ identity I had, as a Pakistani, as a sum of cultures and history that I inherited. As I started my search I did not realize the diversity, depth and vibrancy of a multitude of religions, cultures, and subcultures that make the fabric of Pakistan. With every step I would discover aspects of the people and their lives which would leave me even more determined to explore further. This journey has enabled me to search my own self as I viewed the human condition. Whether it was witnessing colors of Holi at many Mandirs in Tharparkar or listening to hymns at Sunday mass at Saint Anthony's church in Lahore or joining in the festivities of Chowmos- at Kalash festival- I have been able to see, capture and celebrate diversity.

This culminated into form of my second photography book called White in the Flag, which depicts lives and festivities of religious minorities of Pakistan. Tapestry of Faiths is loosely based on that as well as my photography of different aspects of Islamic faith and historical places of worship.

Mobeen Ansari