Halah Khan

An-Kahi Kahani (The Untold Story)

Halah Khan

An-Kahi Kahani (The Untold Story)



Edition Size



Embroidery, Ink, Textile


8 × 5.5 × 1 in



$ 2,800.00

Out of Print

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University of Puget Sound

Booklyn is proud to introduce Pakistani artist Halah Khan. Khan’s visceral and exceptionally evocative unique books are rooted in her elegant and passionate poetry. Her poetry is intricately and boldly embroidered over her exuberant expressionistic paintings which cover the deceptive simplicity and directness of her book forms. While elegant and functional her book forms are also complex and carefully designed sculptural structures that emulate the emotional and existential terrain she explores so courageously. To page one of Khan’s books is to be unmoored in time and space, one becomes as vulnerable as the characters in her books, open to the strong feelings that any total immersion catalyzes. Her work challenges conventional notions of chronology and subjectivity, one is never sure if one is reading a book from ancient times or some odd codex from the future sent back in time as some sort of harbinger of things to come. Khan’s books are never just about things, they are not narratives that describe some imaginary world, neither are they reportage. When you dance with one of Halah Khan’s books, there is no easy way for the music to end, the aesthetic experience is a totality that is difficult to describe, except by saying, “one must dance with these books”.
An-Kahi Kahani (The Untold Story) has a completely entrancing structure, most reminiscent of some ancient prayer book, that unfolds itself in your hands like soft yet disturbing wings of sorrow. Its dramatic tactility reinforces the authority of the voice of the book. It is as if the book itself is the protagonist of the poem. Like most of Halah Khan’s work, ultimately, the subjectivity of the reader is absorbed into the book’s story. The book is ourselves speaking to ourselves.

An-Kahi Kahani
Text within the Book:
سمندر کی خاموشی میں، لہروں تلے
Through the silence of the ocean, beneath the waves
کسی خواب کا انتظار کرتے ہوئے
Waiting for a dream
تمہیں ایک کہانی سنانی ہے
I have a story to tell you
یہ در و دیوار تھک چُکے ہیں میری آواز سے
These walls have grown tired of my voice
وہ دشت یاد ہے۔۔۔ جہاں میرا گھر تھا۔۔۔
Remember that desert… where my home used to be…
مجھے اس تک پہنچا دو
Take me to it
وہ مجھ سے بھول گیا ہے
I have lost its memory
ایک ہی وعدہ تھا تم سے
This was my only promise to you
ایک کہانی سنانی ہے بس
Only a story to tell
جانے کتنی صدیاں بیت گئیں
Don’t know how many centuries passed
تمہیں آواز دیتے دیتے
Calling out to you
ایک کہانی سنانی تھی۔۔۔
I had a story to tell…

An-Kahi Kahani (The Untold Story), 2020, unique, textile, embroidery, ink, 8” x 5.5” (variable), 6, pages