Contributed by Atif Sheikh

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Atif Sheikh
Philadelphia, PA

In 1992 I left Pakistan to study at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, without a blanket. At Kennedy airport, a friend of my father’s handed me a humongous king-size comforter, realizing that I was flying on to the snow belt. During my only trip back to Pakistan in ’93 I brought back my own blanket that I had used for years, this blue one, bought at the now-defunct Duty Free Shop in Islamabad. I’ve used it as a sleeping bag in the cold nights of Rochester and as part of me that I could crawl back into. Its smell kept me close to my home in Islamabad, never changing until much later when I started using it as a cargo blanket. When I launched the art gallery Twelve Gates Arts, this blanket served as the wrap for many a sculpture in transition. From bedding matt to paint drop-cloth to a rainwater block under a door, its uses have been endless. Not wanting to throw it away I’ve kept it with me all these years, forgotten and stored away in its as-is condition. Marie Watt’s Blanket Stories brought to mind this machine-age relic.