Karachi Children’s Art Fest 2015

We are so happy and proud (yes we are) to be bringing Karachi this wonderful initiative back again for another year. With a wonderful team working very hard and pulling their hair out and banging their head against the wall, we after several hitches have been able to make it happen. More details up soon! fb post (1)

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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.

The Learning Process!

I have failed – magnificently – and a lot of times!

I have fallen on my ass and on my face, and on other body parts more time than I can care to remember or recall.

But as I mentioned before, I am okay with that!

I like the fact that I fail, that I take a chance that might not end up in being a success. And all of this was important. It was important or else I would not have ended up here! So I am okay with my life. I am okay with being where I am in my life and I am learning to be more accepting of it. To be more thankful for it.

There are times when you just need to say these things out loud. And today was just one of those days. So I am done with my ranting people. You may continue with your business as usual.

Comments: “MADRASSA EDUCATION 2014: CHALLENGES AND REFORMS”

While I had more or less resigned from this blog of mine, and moved to other things, I am writing here today as a favor to a friend and giving my comments on the above mentioned report that has been researched and can be found on the following link.

In the light of the recent events – primarily 16/12 and the overall way in which the dynamics of the global politics has shaped in the last one decade, this topic of Madrassa Education and reforms has become one of special importance.


And while the report for me touches on a lot of serious topics, about registrations and the curriculum and mode of education, etc., it still remains very superficial.

The most common mistake that we keep on making as a nation is that we are able to point out the problems, but the conversion of such points into law and then having them implemented without any interference from any party or stakeholders involved is the challenge and that is where the report lacks!

The research and the history of the issue is all there – and forms a credible base with verified and good sources. But when it comes to the part which will influence the change, it’s all about should be’s”.

Let me elaborate – Consider this point from the report “Adequate portion of the education budget should be allocated for financing teachers and
graduates”

1. Why could this not have been written as “Will be allocated”?

2. Why not dictate how much of the budget will you be allocating?

3. Who is going to be monitoring the correct usage of this budget?

4. Where will that percentage of budget be created from?

I am sure that there will be a counter argument that we are just there to highlight issues, but the fact of the matter is that when I see a report on the website of Youth Parliamentarians who are planning to enter the public arena as politicians, or activists or any such capacity, then I do expect a deeper look into the issue.

Another issue for me was the fact that you can simply not talk about Madrasas without mentioning the talibans and how a lot of these – not all – have been used for such militant acts and for safeguarding such offenders. What is to be done about them.. where is the law? What are we going to do about them?

Overall the report lacks the indepth study when it comes to the development of reforms, which is the backbone for any real change.

Art – “The Most Unregulated field of financial operations”

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This was more or less the theme of Luiz Augusto Teixeira de Freitas’s keynote address on the third day of the CIMAM Conference.

A lawyer and an art collector since the last 20 years, I believe it was the lawyer in him, that led to this inquiry. The questions were justified and should be treated with seriousness, if not with a sense of urgency.

Who is keeping an eye on the Art Market? Who are the regulators or the gatekeepers? With an industry touching the ceiling of over 50 billion Euro (that’s a lot of zeros), there are serious implications and for sure a need for regulations.  Continue reading

Museums in Progress: Public interest, private resources? – CIMAM Conference, Doha

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As a stroke of luck would have it, I randomly came across the website of CIMAM and with it, a travel grant for the conference to be held in Doha, I apply and I actually get in!

The title for this year’s Conference was “Museums in Progress: Public interest, private resources?”

And what was the most interesting for me with regards to this title was how the issues for the 1st world and the 3rd world differed within the same umbrella. For three days, people from all over the world debated on the subject matter and while it is my personal opinion that such debates in most cases doesn’t yield an answer, but the approaches and the case studies are always a ground for something to learn.

“What is public interest today?” was the topic for the debate for Day 1. And while the subject matter may sound simple enough, there are so many questions and complexities that come under this subject matter.

Day 2 was spent on discussing “Building institutions in the African and the Middle East Contexts” and this is for me when the conference really got interesting and the vast difference between the understanding of the 1st world and the 3rd world quite apparent.

The conference was concluded on the 3rd day after a great debate on “Private to public, public to private: what are the new professional practices?”. Some of the most wonderful points of the conference were raised here, and a need for regulations was highlighted after drawing many a parallels between art and many other fields.

There is no doubt that a lot of important questions were raised and in each of our own context, the solution or the application of new models need to be revisited. Over the next couple of days, I will be bringing the many talks and discussions over to this forum and share the many problems and concerns and my own analysis with you.

I look forward to your input in this argument.