Adeela Suleman’s After All It’s Always Somebody Else Who Dies is a memorial to victims of violence in the artist’s home city of Karachi, Pakistan.

Suleman grew up in Karachi and studied sculpture at the city’s Indus Valley School of Art. She is known for her work exploring social and political issues, particularly the links between historic and contemporary violence. Up to 12 people a day are murdered in Karachi in gang-related or political attacks.

After All It’s Always Somebody Else Who Dies features a repeated pattern of metal shapes, which at first sight resemble handguns. On closer inspection they are revealed to be falling sparrows, each delicate bird a symbol of the victims of violence in Karachi.

Suleman employs metalsmiths with traditional handcraft skills to make her works, which echo the decorative traditions of the Mughal style. In Islamic South Asia weapons were often decorated so that their final appearance could be more like a piece of jewellery than an instrument of death.

After All It’s Always Somebody Else Who Dies draws attention to these juxtapositions of violence and beauty and responds to suffering with a suggestion that the human spirit is more inclined to creativity than destruction.

Suleman’s sculpture now joins Manchester Art Gallery, a museum that aims to collect work that reflects the city’s diverse population, including the significant community with Pakistani heritage.


The artist.

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