Shahid Mirza’s Kavita – Cover Art of ‘Holier Than Life’

shahidmirzaSometimes, an artist delivers a verse on canvas; sometimes, the verse spills over to become a song; sometimes, that song releases a perfect moment of forgetfulness. If i was a musician, i could tell you more about the song that is initiated by this painting. Now, i can only say that it is a song of abandonment and joy, of floating and riding, of heat and animals; and of flowing water and sweeping breeze.’ (

By Fauzia Rafique

I saw this item in 2006 in Shahid Mirza’s studio located at the time in the servant quarter of a Gulberg house where the main floor was being used by Lahore Chitrkar, an art organization founded and run by him and his partner Rabia Nadir while they lived upstairs with their family. This artwork was part of Shahid Mirza’s scattered portfolio found in his studio and in Chitrkar’s office and gallery areas. The moment i saw it, i was captured by the serenity and continuity of life it represented. A common scene of a rain-fed pond or a canal or river in the plains of the Punjab where in the heat of summer the cow/buffalo floats giving free rides to the young caretakers. An un-advertised, casual, everyday-life pleasure extracted from harsh realities without thought or planning– made possible only by the instinctive trust the child has in the force of life itself.


Shahid Mirza is an art teacher and an incredible painter who mixes life forms into oblong-people shapes to emerge colourful concepts on pages and canvases merging Punjabi folk lore with current themes and techniques. Visit his Facebook art gallery to view his paintings.
Some of his work is displayed here.
Shahid Mirza at Uddari Art

I am grateful to Shahid Mirza for his art, for his generosity in letting me use it on ‘Holier Than Life’, and for his friendship. This reminds me of many occasions where i enjoyed warm hospitality and deep caring from him and Rabia in Lahore in 2006-2007. And, this is the kind of contentment and creativity they both are:

rabianadir-shahidmirzaRabia Nadir and Shahid Mirza in a photo from Sarah Elahi

Here and now, Mariam Zohra Durrani created a befitting environment on the cover of ‘Holier Than Life’ (Purple Poppy Press, June 2013) to showcase Shahid Mirza’s artwork.

Holier-Than-Life-CoverGet it here

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