This project has consumed the last few months of my creative energy. So much work has gone into conceptualizing and executing it that it is difficult for me to even pen it down. I am literally answering emails and in meetings at all hours trying to set things up with collaborators and coordinate with team members and participants, approving and creating graphics, getting stuff printed and god knows what else.
It has literally been so much work that last week I reached the point where I asked myself the question we often ask in the middle of a painting that suddenly seems to be going nowhere.
Why am I even doing this?
For that moment I felt like I had suddenly forgotten why I was doing the intense amount of work that I had done. So I took a week long break to get my perspective back; and here’s what I discovered about WHY I worked on The Untold Edition.
The Untold Edition happens to be a critical component of my reflective practice. It started off as bullet points on a notepad, and evolved into an actual series of events that garnered interest. Not only did I have to exert my artistic and practical sense to create each of the events but also, I was forced to question at each point why and how that contributed to the overall concept I was trying to introduce. Each step not only led me to further steps and further collaborations but also brought to light answers about the impact of community projects and what their importance was to me.
Each step of The Untold Edition was like an entry in this reflective journal, forcing me to look back, look at and mull over before proceeding to the next step.
This project clarified for me that my art did not have to exist as a separate entity from my event. Something, which Jonathan tried mentioning in an earlier tutorial but that I didn’t fully comprehend at that time. The event was my art. The event was artistic in itself. My art was the event. If that convoluted logic makes sense.
The Untold Edition is like a giant, rolling, snowballing piece of public art that represents my thoughts and my passions.
It helped me conceptualize and focus on exactly what I am trying to say with my art. Will discuss more about how this impacts my project proposal in a later post.
Anyway, before I submerge us into more reflective discussion let’s get back to the point of this post. BTS. Yes, The Untold Edition required an ENORMOUS amount of BTS work that is simply unrecordable and unexplainable. Executing one event is a huge task, executing a series is nearly impossible to do singlehandedly. Yet it is happening, and it gives me the kind of pleasure and contentment that only an artist can get when they paint that last stroke onto their canvas and finally stare at a completed picture; whether it is what they originally envisioned or it has led them down an entirely different path, unfolding a whole other truth is besides the point.
I don’t know if I have mentioned any or all of this before, but penning it down seems to clarify this enormous project in my mind, so here we go (possibly, again).
What happened in July:
At this quaint artistic cafe in Zamzama (somehow all my stories tend to begin at quaint artistic cafes *shrug*), Esquires Coffee, I met the first two of who I like to call ‘Reeimagineers’. One of them was Khalid Soomro, ex-assistant curator at the Mohatta Palace historic museum. Together we fleshed out exactly what The Untold Edition stood for and wanted to do.
We then did a ton of organizing work including creating graphics, marketing on social media, etc etc to pull of two events:
- A tree plantation drive with an artistic twist.
- An open mic night
I will write detailed blogposts on both pretty soon.
What did we do then?
We video recorded every aspect of the two events and posted these videos along with pictures and graphics online to generate interest.
What happened next?
People got interested and The Untold Edition evolved. Here are the interesting things that came forward once we took to social media with our event videos:
- Sponsors showed interest: Currently talking to potential sponsors who can help us execute the next few events
- People wanted to connect and work with us for example Sabina Khatri of Kiran Foundation who works with abused and underprivileged women and children wants us to help them tell their stories through art. Or Safee Ul Haque, a poet and founder of The Narrative — Karachi Calling.
- Xenith PR approached us to help us market the event even more. I have a meeting with them on 18th August.
What do I plan next?
I have four further events in mind.
- Painting a mural at an eye hospital catering to underprivileged patients
- Conducting an art workshop with Akhuwat Foundation and Kiran Foundation to help their students and families tell the stories of their struggles and aspirations.
- Designing a constructive, interactive art play space for students at NJV, the largest government school in Sindh to improve its conditions.
- Conducting a tour of Karachi’s unseen landmarks and inviting artists to take that tour and paint their impressions at every location to create Karachi’s first postcard series.
- Reclaiming a landmark location in Karachi that has been allowed to fade away by reconstructing it using glass pieces the way Raymond Isidore created La Maison Picassiette.
And for the culmination of all these events I am working on the following three things that tie in strongly to my beliefs, my passions and my practice:
- Creating The Untold Edition anthology of short stories containing fictionalized accounts from the lives of all the inspirational people I am meeting on this journey.
- Collaborating with Grayscale, a film production company in Pakistan, to create a documentary of the project similar to ‘Wasteland’ (something I’ve always aspired to do and would be a completely new idea to Pakistan).
- Hosting an interactive exhibition at V. M. Art Gallery in Karachi to present the final project including all the art that is collected for example the films, the postcards etc.
What do you guys think?