KARACHI: A cool breeze blew across the lawn of the Alliance Française as droves of people, of all ages and sizes, mingled together at the first Creative Karachi Festival here on Saturday. Organised by T2F, the festival was a collaboration of sorts, with one simple goal — to bring together the varied creative forces that the city houses and ‘celebrate the talent and spirit of Karachi’s creative community’.
To be held over the weekend, the programme features various music performances, including qawwali, dramatic readings, art exhibitions, photography sessions, and even arts and crafts workshops for children.
Simultaneously, the library at the venue showed back-to-back French Art movies and documentaries. This attracted serious viewers and the comfortable set-up was very conducive to spending a few hours watching and learning about French artists and painters of the past, and onwards to more contemporary times. A particular favourite was a documentary on the 19th century French painter Manet and the struggles he made on his way to painting his masterpiece titled The Luncheon, eventually being hailed as one of the earlier modern artists.
The rooftop hosted the Karachi Astronomers Society and attendees were invited to share their interest in astronomy and space sciences. The society had set up various telescopes to allow a rare chance to gaze at different celestial bodies such as the sun, moon and stars.
Music comprised an important part of the festival and various genres could be heard from different ends of the lawn which enlivened the mood. This, fortunately, did not interfere with the other activities taking place at other ends of the venue.
The courtyard was used to present humourous readings by the theatre group Qissah Farosh. Picking up writings by Patras Bokhari, a sizeable crowd gathered and shared in the laughter that Bokhari’s short stories are known for, and the troupe’s performance was quiet commendable.
Qawwali performances by Ustad Khurshid Hussain, the Saami Brothers and even Subhan Ahmed Nizami attracted classical music lovers, while Sunday’s rundown will also feature a more modern flavour with bands such as Sounds of Kolachi performing. A dance performance by Joshinder Chaggar will be held on Sunday along with a standup comedy show.
Storytelling and art and craft workshops for children were the standout at the Creative Karachi Festival. Allowing children a creative space to express themselves is a necessity and unfortunately held only in small pockets within the city. Watching young children scribble and gleefully run around to exhibit their ‘masterpieces’ was a delight and the idyllic afternoon quickly slipped into a cool evening.
Most of the space was allotted to artists who had brought their artworks with varied mediums used. There were portraits and caricatures, watercolour paintings of far-off lands and exotic locations, and even large canvas paintings.
Apart from amateur artists, the Courtyard Art Exhibit featured such artists as Madeeha Iqbal, Naveen Shakil Khan, Huma Mulji, Tahir Ali and Mahwish Hassan.
The Creative Karachi Festival is expected to end at a high note on Sunday.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2014