Redo Pakistan in Karachi
It seemed it was going to be an unforgettable day in the Karachi’s recent tormented past. It turned out to be true for all the wrong reasons.
Shanakht Festival, of which Redo Pakistan was a part, began with much hope & fanfare on 8th April 2009, with 1,500 school children visiting the exhibits in the morning alone. By sunset, more than a thousand Karachiites had visited the event, which they appreciated greatly & hoped to visit again with their friends & family soon.
No one could have predicted that this calm social gathering was in for a rude awakening to the dark side of Karachi. Several political activists of the dominant political party in Pakistan took offence to a work of art, exhibited, by another group, in the same gallery as Redo Pakistan, & threatened to beat the organizers up if they did not hand over the artist behind the “sacrilegious” piece. Those goons later went on to ransack the gallery & to damage other exhibits as well, scaring away the many Karachiites who saw their hopes for a peaceful & entertaining night out dashed.
The next day, we took toll of the damage, packed up our exhibit & headed home after the Sindh Government refused to provide security guarantees to the organizers of the Shanakht Festival.
There’s more to this tale. More which is yet to unfold, as we are set to Redo Pakistan in Lahore. We feel doing it independently would help us break through the clutter of perceptions & disinformation. We feel positive about this.