Book Blog: Mazaar, Bazaar
By Sahar Baharloo
How does one visually typify an entire culture without being reductionistic, offensive or just plain dumb? Imagine someone trying to explain France by depicting baguettes, berets and handle- bar mustaches. That is something that could have happened with Mazaar Bazaar: Design and Visual Culture in Pakistan if designer and editor Saima Zaidi hadn't handled the project so well. She gathered over thirty articles discussing different aspects of visual culture in Pakistan from ancient to modern times. She explores a wide scope of media and objects including ancient coins, movie posters, political cartoons and personal portraits.
While I find the subject matter compelling, what I admire about Zaidi's work the most is her design. Her design is elegant, sophisticated and smart. Most importantly, it's quiet. It's way too common for designers to allow their voice to drown out their subject matter.