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‘Shama’ (Flame)

Written by: Muhammad Iqbal
RECITED BY: Sanki King
INSPIRED BY: ‘Here I Am’
By Sanki King
Part of the exhibition ‘Abstraction and Calligraphy – Towards A Universal Language’


Biography of Sanki King

Born in Jeddah in 1990 & growing up in Karachi, Sanki got inspired by the American graffiti & hip-hop culture of the 80’s & 90’s through the internet and at home he was inspired by his father, who spoke 19 languages & regularly wrote the Qur’an by hand which sparked his interest in learning different languages & traditional Arabic & Persian calligraphy. At 15, he further delved into rapping, DJing, b-boying, parkour & along with graffiti in several languages, experimented with portraiture, sneaker art, custom clothing & stencil art; later developing a strong practice in Calligraffiti. Since early 2010, he has produced monumental graffiti & calligraffiti murals around Pakistan, works in 8 languages & in his own hieroglyphic writing system, associating elements of traditional calligraphy with the techniques of street art.
Sanki started exhibiting his work in galleries in 2016 with a sold-out solo show at Sanat Gallery, Karachi: he was a major part of the first Karachi Biennale in 2017 & an Abraaj Art Prize 2017 nominee. King is currently exhibiting his work “Here I Am” at the ongoing “Abstraction & Calligraphy” exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is one of the two biggest installations in the exhibition. Sanki is also the youngest artist in the exhibition; first Pakistani artist in history to be exhibiting at the Louvre Abu Dhabi and one of the youngest Pakistani artists in the world to be doing a museum show.

‘Shama’ (Flame)
By: Muhammad Iqbal

Beware of your own reality O farmer!
You are the grain, the cultivation, the
rain, as well as the produce

Ah! Whose search keeps you aimlessly
wandering
You are the path, the traveler, the guide,
the destination

Why is your heart trembling with the fear
of the storm?
You are the sailor, the ocean, the boat, the
sea-shore

Come frequent the alley of the torn-
collars sometime
You are Qais, Lailah, the wilderness,
the litter on the camel

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