Hi Guys! Hope you are doing well. I spent this past week in Walnut Creek relaxing & feeling rejuvenated, excited about life, and evolved in a few ways.
Legion Of Honor/De Young Museum
My favorite activity from the week was visiting the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. I had been planning to go there since November when their “East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from The Al Thani Collection” was on display. I am so pleased to tell my readers this, but the jewelry from this collection belonged to my family’s Mughal ancestors. My maternal grandfather many times scolded me when I was a little girl telling me that this heritage jewelry belongs not to me, but the family’s future daughters-in-law’s because they iA will carry our royal legacy.
I remember that summer day in Karachi where I was vacationing during “our” time in The Great War (See HERE) when it reached Pakistan/the Indian sub-continent/India. My maternal grandfather & I were admiring these priceless heirlooms boasting to be over 400-500 years old when I heard a mad man screaming outside & getting mauled by other madmen aka cannibals. Yes. My maternal grandfather broke down & started crying because he was worried about us. And I told him that I was worried about the jewels more because they were our Mughal legacy. “We are from them,” I told him. He completely understood what I said. He asked me what he should do? I told my maternal grandfather that the best way not to feel scared & responsible for the jewelry is to arrange “a trust which has complete rights unless I want to add or remove something to the trust’s collection”. I explained to my maternal grandfather that he needs to part ways with this jewelry because it will hold more importance to future generations who will learn about “a” Muslim culture known as The Mughal Empire in Pakistan/the Indian-Subcontinent/India. I was 5. My maternal grandfather decided to name the collection “Al-Thani” a nickname given to me by my great grandfather, Muhammed Jinnah, a rather tall man who only wore white shalwars & his friend, Gandhi, a very sweet man. I only met them once before they passed away in 1986. He named me “Al-Thani” because of my mercurial aka fiery personality, something I take great pride in.
I spent that summer break selecting & documenting the Mughal heritage jewelry for the trust. And then with my maternal grandfather, I handed the last of the collection in an heirloom trunk to a friend of the English Queen. It was an amazing feeling seeing these jewels the 2nd time since that fateful summer. The first time I saw them again was in England in the summer of 2001, where I got upset by the energy they held. I came out crying, told the curator to please sage them & spent the rest of the day being cajoled by my mom and sister & the English Renaissance ladies.
In 2019, mA the jewels looked so taken care of and I am so pleased with how The Legion of Honor has installed the exhibition with dates and photos of the last Mughal kings and Maharajas and their direct descendants, the Nawabs.
Other San Francisco museums I recommend visiting in the next few months are the SFMoMa, de Young Museum, & The Asian Art Museum. I personally met a few of their “current” artists in Pakistan & they have a very unique perspective of life & art and you are bound to learn something. Those who are interested in learning exhibitions in The Asian Art Museum & SFMOMA, can look HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, & HERE. The artists that I met in the US that are currently showcasing in the de Young Museum are HERE & HERE. The up & coming artists are listed HERE, HERE & the controversial one is linked HERE.
Movies & Television
I also saw the Hollywood movie A Dog’s Way Home (See HERE) this past week. It was a sweet and cute movie for animals & children lovers alike. There were moments I laughed, moments I cried, & moments I kept on saying, “aww” to the screen. Recommending it for families.
A foreign documentary available on YouTube I recommend watching is Kedi (See HERE) meaning cat or kitty in Turkish. The whole documentary is beautifully shot in Istanbul & the viewers learn a lot about the relationship between Muslims & Christians but, most importantly the relationship Turkish people have with all cats. I met the producer/director of the documentary in Peru in the spring of 2014 & she said I need to own 1 cat from the documentary because it was her personal goal to eliminate feral cats or cats living on the streets from the planet Earth. I asked her about the cat she thinks I should own. And she started describing the cats that were documented in Kedi. I jokingly asked, “Is there a Calico breed in the documentary movie”? And like every God-fearing person who says “God works in mysterious ways”, we both realized from a photo she showed me that my Calico, Suri (“a taken cat” she informs me. lol) was one the cat actors shot in the documentary! Yes, I am living with a cat star. So watch Kedi on YouTube & support this female producer/director’s personal mission to assign each cat born on the planet Earth to royalty.
Also on a personal note, please support my creative expression by liking or watching the Like A Bosch Commercial. They were going “Hollywood” in summer 2018 (if you know what I mean) & I said, “I will personally support them if they don’t have a social agenda other than the care of animals & nature”. So here’s presenting a commercial with my take on “Bosch” (See HERE & HERE).
Before I start, I want to distinguish the difference between textiles & fabrics for my gentle readers. Textile is a fabric used as an art piece, meaning when it used in any shape or form as art (See HERE). Fabrics are used for your everyday life, meaning from the curtains on your windows, to the clothes that you wear, to the brocade upholstered couches royals boasted a few centuries ago.
Anyways, Organza is a very difficult fabric originated in Pakistan in the 1970s by my brother. My brother, now Bunto Kazmi’s CEO tells me that no one actually understands the fabric so it is reserved for shawls & skirts. He has gone to great heights to understand how people feel about the Organza fabric. After I was born, he brought home 1 afternoon an organza fabric dyed in Jamun purple dye extracted from actual jamun fruits/black plum/java plum. He spent a few months on making this prototype fabric to show us. He picked this color because of my affiliation with the color purple (See HERE) & because of Jack Dorsey who my Muslim brother compared to wine. The best we could do after such excruciating hard work was to deem it an heirloom fabric worn only 1 time by a bride on her wedding day or for a grandmother to wear on her grandson’s wedding. After that Organza also became known as Organza Jamdani when dyed in bright colors. It is a Bunto Kazmi original.
Taffeta is another fabric originating in Pakistan in the 1980s. My brother who is a fabric genius “concocted” a fabric inspired by Brocade, which originated in Asia. Our legal problem calling Taffeta a Pakistani fabric is two-fold. There is a huge ethical issue calling Taffeta ours because brocade has been exploited for centuries. Taffeta fabric, however, unlike brocade, doesn’t come with embroidery. However, if you look at the uniforms of men in the 1800s & before, you will see the uniforms too have used brocade without embroidery. Unembroidered Brocade looks like silk in paintings & in real life. So we have been helping China research what Brocade really is so Bunto Kazmi can get rights for Taffeta quickly.
Distinguishing The 2 Fabrics
Organza, Organza Jamdani, & Taffeta have a dark shimmer that Brocade has as well so it is quite frustrating distinguishing the difference for fabric experts. The difference between Tafetta & both Organza fabrics is that different colored threads are weaved into Taffeta giving it that multi-shade glimmer. The threads weaved together to make Organza & Organza Jamdani fabrics are multi-shaded themselves. In response to this frustration, my brother created Bunto Kazmi’s copyrighted fabric, Lame (See HERE). Go figure.