Creative Pakistan – What is the need?

Last weekend, Karachi had the chance to once again be swept away by Karachi Literature Festival, or as we more lovingly like to call it KLF. And while for the sake of this post, I would refrain from commenting about how it was yet one more year of the same old topics and the same old names any negative comments about the event. Instead I would focus on one of the only rare and extremely bearable of the more interesting session, for me, in the event.

Sherry Rehman and Jude Kelly on Can “Creative Pakistan” save “Unstable Pakistan”? Image: tribune.com

Can “Creative Pakistan” undo “Unstable” Pakistan?  is a question that has been asked far too many times, so much so that now you really take a moment to consider whether the question “So what is it that you do?” really worth answering. “Oh I am a curator.. and I worked for Museums and Art Galleries before….”

“Really.. wow… must be tough. But it hardly makes sense in a country like ours? People have so much more to worry about”

And while I would love to say to such people “I tried so hard to kill this one talent that I had, but goddamnit, I am one stubborn person, who just won’t budge from wasting her time on this useless pursuit”, the most that you can really do is, give a smile and move along or get a kick from under the table from whoever is accompanying you to ensure that you don’t put yourself, but primarily them, in an awkward social moment.  Continue reading

Karachi Children’s Art Fest – A Small Initiative

It was the year 2013, and sometime in October, when during a brainstorming session, the idea of Karachi Children’s Arart fair logo 02 finalt Fest (KCAF) came into being. The idea had its root for a while in my head, especially since my brief time in USA for a training program, where I first got the chance what a real Museum looks like and the impact it can have. Since then, the feeling that something better needs to exist for kids has always been stuck in my head – in other words, the idea that I deserved something better as a kid never left me.

It was therefore in a sudden fit of excitement that KCAF was established. It  was a collaboration of ArtChowk The Gallery, TBYU (my little initiative) and Spaces Gallery. In this country which is already tormented by tons of incidents of terrorism, violence – both ethnic and religious, lack of infrastructure, it comes as no surprise that we provide no spaces for kids to nurture their creative faculties. We have almost no Museums (the ones that we do have and what they do contribute is a topic for yet another day). In the absence of all this, how is it that we are to expect anything from the generations to come? KCAF therefore is a response to the lack of spaces. It is a platform to allow kids to connect with art and colors, and things which allow us to open our minds to new things and possibilities and be fascinated by it. KCAF 2014 was not a great hit, but it was a step – a very tiny one at that, but enough to tell us that this is a need, which we need to continue taking. With almost 5 thousand people attending the event over a course of two days, where everything was made free to the public, it was a venture that needs a lot of support still. So what does KCAF 2015 holds for the city? More on that soon.