Artist: Bani Abidi, Script: Mohammed Hanif, Directing: Asma Mundrawala
Material: Sound installation
Size: Looped Sound
The Garden of Love draws inspiration from Karachi, Pakistan’s largest and most populous metropolitan city. In this exploration of romantic love in public spaces, a rumour of a purported love tryst unfolds across time as witnessed through the eyes of gatekeepers and park employees. The love story, recounted in the form of monologues, exists only as a chain of divergent and often speculative memories.
Garden of Love is thus a reflection on society’s ambivalent relation with the notion of romantic love in relation to values of honor, belief and truth. The title of the work comes from a poem by the 18th century poet William Blake whose poem of the same title expresses his hostility towards all forms of organized religion. Given Karachi’s current political climate, Garden of Love is a timely and poetic antidote to the city’s grimier stories.
Its current iteration as a sound work is an adaptation from a video installation of the same name, which was produced by the Aga Khan Museum for its inaugural show in 2014.