The Only Star


Falling down through life
With nothing to hold on to
About to crash and burn
Not a thing that I could do

As the darkness took me in
A ray of light came through
Love and hope it spread
And took me right to you

Since then it has been bright
There’s no sign of despair
Sunshine in the meadows
Rainbows everywhere

Gravity pulls me to you
I’m losing self-control
Destined to be together
Unite, be one, be whole

Life revolves around you
Nothing else is up to par
In this galaxy of mine
You are the only star

– Yousuf Bawany, April 2013


Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

Life isn’t fair or unfair; it is what it is. A few months back, I did these three pieces made entirely out of paper (and some steel) for a chance to win an art competition. Turns out, these entries weren’t good enough for the judges. To be very honest, I was glad I didn’t win, because parting with your creations is perhaps the most difficult thing to do. These are MINE and I hope you like them.

Brighter Future

Anyone’s Game

Mission: Earth

NOTE: This week’s challenge truly captures the essence of possessiveness, so I couldn’t help myself from re-posting these images. The originals with their poetic descriptions can be found at Into The Light, Anyone’s Game, and Mission: Earth.

My First Ever Artist’s Statement

The Vase

Fairly recently, I submitted some of my artwork to a contest for a chance at global recognition on a very large scale, and guess what? I had to submit an Artist’s Statement. Having never had any formal art training (except up until middle school), I had no idea what it was. Turns out, it is a short essay that highlights your story and your passion as an artist. A few blogs back, I wrote a piece entitled ‘The Peace of Paper‘ and I instantly thought of incorporating some (OK, a lot) of those ideas into my statement. Here’s what I came up with. Hope my enthusiasm for art shines through in this from-the-heart statement. Enjoy!

Look around you: there’s despair everywhere. Entertainment just isn’t what it used to be back in the good old days. Watching television is like taking a depressant; a pill that drags you down into the abyss of melancholy, draining out all your optimism and leaving you with a sense of hopelessness. Same is the situation with other entertainment media; be it a viral Youtube video of two brothers being mercilessly beaten by a heartless mob or a newspaper article tallying the number of buses burned in the previous night’s riots. Sure, there are a few avenues promoting light entertainment, but invariably, you end up tuning into one of the news channels to verify whether there’s a strike tomorrow or not, or how many lives were extinguished in the city of lights (Karachi, Pakistan) today. We are so wrapped up in this entertainment revolution that we fail to recognize a multitude of activities that can help nurture our constructive side and even introduce a degree of calmness in our otherwise chaotic existence.

Paper is perhaps one of the most readily available materials on earth and believe it or not, can be used to make beautiful creations. The various sizes, colors, thicknesses, and textures of paper make it a unique medium to work with. As kids, most of us would have folded a boat using a sheet of square paper; that’s Origami (meaning ‘paper folding’). The main idea behind Origami is to take a flat sheet of paper and fold it into a finished sculpture using basic folding techniques. The use of any glue, threads or scissors to create/stabilize the sculpture is a taboo for Origami practitioners. A variation of Origami called Kirigami (meaning ‘paper cutting’) allows the use of scissors to create your sculptures. My most recent obsession these days, however, is Slice Forms; 3D models made using slices of card stock.

I started practicing Origami in1998, my inspirations being Tomoko Fuse and Robert Lang, but went on hiatus from 1999 to 2007.  It all changed in 2008 when I was inspired to fold a single paper crane after watching a TV show (Prison Break – no surprises there); and I haven’t looked back since. I started working on more complex and challenging designs and in most cases, finished off the models. I’ve made stars and center pieces, cubes and cranes, dodecahedrons and icosahedrons, arabesques and florals; I just can’t seem to get enough. Sparing free time gets increasingly difficult but I find an hour here, a minute there to work on my latest project. As a natural extension to my passion, I started working on Kirigami models too, copying the greats, never really creating something on my own.

I stumbled upon Scherenschnitte (the Gernan art of paper cutting) and Slice Forms in the mid of 2011, and like any hobbyist, I started off by imitating the greats, like Mashahiro Chatani, John Sharp, and Richard Sweeny, but somewhere on the road to self-contentment, I discovered my own distinct style. I started designing my own models with varying degrees of complexity. Once I start working on a model, I lose all track of time. An unnatural calm surrounds me; the only things I focus on are the slices and the cuts, taking each step carefully, making sure I don’t make any mistakes.

Art is something that comes naturally to me. I have never had any formal training in this area and am 100% self-taught. I’m also a self-taught graphics designer, a photographer, writer, playwright, poet and 3D modeler. I’m still but a novice and I still have miles to go, hoping that one day, my work will be available for all to see, to experience, to appreciate, and to love.

In this uber-destructive world we live in, we should promote constructive concepts. Paper art is just one road that can lead to inner peace and tranquility; there are other art forms that help take your mind off the current state of affairs. I think it is high-time we started talking about something other than all the negative bubbling around us. I don’t want my daughter to come up to me one day and say, “Papa! I want a gun that goes bang-bang-bang”; I’d rather she walks up to me and says, “Papa! I’m out of paper.”

Cold Fusion: Into the Light

By now, you must have gotten the hang of Cold Fusion. Here’s the third installment in this series:

Into the Light
It may be dark but tread along
Into the spiral we call life
Let hope illuminate your heart
Keep searching for that light
Night surely ends, the sun doth rise
Thy future shall be bright! 

Cold Fusion: Mission Earth

This here is the next installment in the Cold Fusion series. I call this ‘Mission: Earth’. Enough said, I’ll let the photo and the poem speak for themselves:

Mission: Earth
Our skin tones might be miles apart
But it’s only red we bleed
Hand in hand, O! my brethren
We’ll spread the word of peace
Plant trees, recycle, save the earth
Let’s atone for our past misdeeds! 

Cold Fusion: Anyone’s Game

Dear Readers,

This is a new initiative I’ve started working on. With every new artwork/sculpture I make, I shall be adding a stanza of poetry to describe the piece. Let’s hope you can all appreciate my sentiments. This right here is the first in a series of many Cold Fusions to come.

I have recently completed three installations that are competing for a commission with one of the biggest names in the Airline industry. The competition is tough, but hope prevails. Here goes nothing:

Anyone’s Game

Anyone’s Game
Life might be like a game of chess
But I’m done being black and white
Let’s take control, reach for the stars
And live larger than life!

Hope you like it!


Artist’s Portfolio

As an amateur artist, one always aspires to be great, to find that one individual niche that sets you aside from the rest. I have, in my journey as an artist, tried finding something that I can ‘originally’ call my own. Here’s a summarized version of all the authentic paper art I have created since I started.

Serene Supplication – Handcut on card-stock

Serene Supplication – the praying man

Arabian Nights – Handcut on card-stock

Arabesque – Handcut on card-stock

Arabian Nights – close-up

The Anniversary Card

The Anniversary Card

The Glass Bowl – inspired by a crystal bowl my wife loves.

Dangerous Curves

Dangerous Curves – the first original piece I made

The Wormhole

The Wormhole – Symmetry

The Wormhole

The Wormhole

The Wormhole

The Wormhole

The Vase

The Vase

The Arabesque

The Arabesque – Extreme close-up