The threshold in contemporary Pakistan between the security of private life and the increasingly violent and unpredictable public sphere is represented in Abidi’s 2009 series Karachi. These staged photographs were shot against the backdrop of the city’s empty streets at sundown during the holy month of Ramadan. During this time, Muslims fast and retreat indoors, leaving the city eerily empty. By portraying ordinary citizens from religious minorities, the photographs reclaim the occupation of public space. Domestic gestures are brought forward and presented in the streets. By being so specific about the times and locations where they were shot, Abidi tests the political potentials of these everyday gestures.
In Karachi Series I (Chandra Acharya, 7:50pm, 30 August 2008, Ramadan, Karachi) (2009) a middle-aged woman sits in front of a dressing table plaiting her hair. The royal-blue sari suggests her identity as non-Muslim.