Forbes released its 30 Under 30 Asia list recently, and it featured 13 Pakistanis. Among the names was sculpture artist and designer Misha Japanwala.
With the announcement came an instant boost to Pakistan's pride. Congratulations and celebrations commenced on social media as publication after publication reported it to their viewers' great joy. In a country like Pakistan, where regular life is marred with hopelessness and pessimism, such news stories have a great impact.
However, we wish that were the last of it.
Japanwala's art finds its inspiration in Pakistan's social issues, and is a tool for commentary as much as it is a means of conveying her own aesthetic. Among the reasons Forbes considered her to be noteworthy and influential in what she does was the social commentary that flourishes with her art. As a woman, she focuses on women's own crises within the confines of Pakistan. According to Forbes, her "work addresses issues such as domestic violence and honour killings in Pakistan."
For crimes on the body, she tells stories of and with the body, but we all know what 'body' or 'jism' triggers in a typical misogynist mind. Her medium of choice is a breastplate. She creates moulds of bodies.
“This is the reclamation of our bodies in art and how we want to depict them and what we want to say about them,” the 25-year-old told Vogue in a February 26 interview. “The art that we consume globally is so heavily focused on the perspective of men and their view of female nudity.”
The replies she received don't surprise us any more than they do Japanwala, we bet. Japanwala's art is personal and emblematic of her own struggles and the people around her. She has the right to make her art and you have the right to not look at it, but don't be annoyed when she outshines you and gets featured on Forbes for being an amazing artist.
We're so happy with the Pakistani representation on the Forbes list. In addition to Japanwala, the list also includes electropop prodigy Abdullah Siddiqui, entrepreneur Hannia Zia, ModulusTech cofounders Yaseen Khalid, M Saquib Malik, and Nabeel Siddiqui, digital marketing professional Shayan Mahmud, CreditBook cofounders Iman Jamall and Hasib Malik, Bazaar cofounders Saad Jangda and Hamza Jawaid and Dastgyr cofounders Zohaib Ali and Owais Qureshi.
No matter whether you like what they're doing or not, these people are helping Pakistan shine and we're proud of them. We hope their efforts and success helps the next generation of Pakistani artists and innovators gain the motivation and momentum necessary to reach even greater heights.