Mazaar, Bazaar: Design and Visual Culture in Pakistan

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Saima Zaidi
Oxford University Press, 2009 - Art - 347 pages
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An interdisciplinary study on design and visual culture in Pakistan, this book reflects social, commercial and geo-political changes influencing this region. It documents contemporary visual vernacular and provides an overview of the impact of diverse cultures assimilated over several millennia. A broad horizon of graphic expression is addressed: from architectural calligraphy to postage stamps, from steatite seals of the Indus valley culture (4000 BC) and coinage to Mughal manuscripts and cinema posters. Historic evidence is fused with contemporary expression, as well as "fine arts" with "applied arts."

Over 30 contributions from leading experts are organized into five sections. "Dekh Magar Pyar se" (Look, but with Love) consists of indigenous popular icons, a majority drawing heavily from religion and mythology. "Read" covers typography depicted by the Urdu, Persian, Arabic and English languages and script. "Be Pakistani, Buy Pakistani" celebrates consumer culture providing critique of some of the local retail packaging. "Pakistan Zindabad" (Long Live Pakistan) offers insight into the construct of a national graphic identity after its Independence in 1947. Pre-partition Perspective is structured chronologically and offers an illustrated history of the region.

It is a sourcebook for designers, artists as well as students of communication and culture.

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About the author (2009)

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Saima Zaidi, a Communications Designer, studied at the National College of Arts, Lahore and the Pratt Institute, New York. She teaches Typography and History of Design at the Department of Visual Studies, University of Karachi.

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