In this painting by Sabir Nazar, a bird sits in a cage. Outside, people go about their activities, good and bad; their lives, pleasant and painful. They pray, they nap; sometimes they go to war. For the parrot, experience of the world is mediated by the presence of the cage: its bars are the source of the troubles with which it must contend, or against which it must rebel. Until and unless it flies, the cage is also the source of all the contentment it will know. The cage itself is suspended between the earth and the sky, seemingly between two worlds – worlds between which the parrot cannot choose. One man lies asleep on the ground beneath; another is too far away to hear the bird’s calls. But the space of cage is bright, with the warm glow of possibility. The parrot can only hope for the best.
This is part of a regular series of Himal’s editorial commentary on artwork by Sabir Nazar. Watercolour, 24″ x 36″