Julius John Alam | Fine Arts - Parsons

Pakistan, 1990
juliusjohnalam.com

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

In September 2014, Shama, a 27 year old Christian woman, was burned alive along with her husband by a Muslim mob in Pakistan after they were accused of burning the Quran. She was a mother of three children and was carrying a fourth at the time of her death. This project, that began as a lamentation for these deaths, gradually evolved into a process of mourning for all those who had lost their lives for the same reason. I have made a book for each victim. I see these handmade cotton books as testaments of love, made sacred through the ritual of tearing the cloth and stitching it together with care. The books serve as an alternative grave and reading the surface of the book turns the site of reading into a memorial space. The viewer shares in this mourning by gently embracing the smooth touch of the muslin pages.

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

"The candle kept burning," 2016, muslin, thread, charcoal, plaster, dimensions variable

Artist Statement

I use materials that are indexical of the human body to create sites of memory that memorialize victims of violence. While violence of any kind against anyone exposes the vulnerability of human life, those who have limited means of self defence are particularly susceptible to it. It is these lives, that do not qualify as grievable, that are memorialized in my work. These memorials of silence and absence, instead of representing a certain death, create an experience through which the violence of death becomes visible. I hope for this experience to induce empathy in the viewer for defenseless victims of violence. I do not hope for a dramatic change in the viewer, but simply nurture a goodness which is a fragile everyday care for other human beings. This fragile goodness in nothing other than the humanness of a human.

Artist Bio

Julius is a Lahore based artist. He was born in Pakistan in 1990. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2013. In 2014, he received the Fulbright Award to do a Masters in Fine Art from the New School, New York, where he is currently enrolled as a graduate student. His work has been shown in various shows in Lahore, Karachi, Dubai and New York. He has exhibited at the New School for Design, DUCTAC Dubai, Canvas Art Gallery, Taseer Art Gallery, Rohtas II, Gallery 39K and Alhamra Art Gallery.