When I started this MA, my work was divided into two veins. There was my self-taught, studio practice stemming from completely random inspiration, shared with the audience only after it had been edited into material I deemed fit for an audience. Then there were my community projects; an un-choreographed intermingling of me as an artist with my audience. The objectives of these two divisions of my practice were also totally different. Studio practice was sold, or gifted, or simply kept in a folder to look back on. Community projects were small sparks intended to impart a love for art, inspire a telling of stories and bring people together.
This MA got me thinking. Were these two tracks totally parallel or could they, at some point, organically converge. At first it was just impossible to imagine how this could happen. Sometimes it’s not about how long you rack your brains, you won’t arrive at a solution until you have taken certain steps, put certain thoughts into practice and gathered certain experiences. All of the steps, creating those poured paintings, working with glass and clay, combining the two, hosting the pop up show, were like the ropes of a drawstring bag, bringing these two ends of my practice closer and closer together.
Until they led me to The Untold Edition. The Untold Edition is a public art project which has a certain objective. But I don’t want to talk about that objective yet. I want to start by talking about what the creation of this project meant to me, and for me, as an artist. This project was an interweaving of the two separate strata of my work. It was a way for me to realize that a public art project is not distinct from a work of art; in fact it is fundamentally a whole work of art. I recall how I used to make these videos as I worked in studio because it wasn’t just the final painting I wanted to show my social media followers, but also the whole process. My public art ventures should be similar too, a documented process that is itself a work of art. Moreover, The Untold Edition allowed me to progress beyond, as Jonathan said, being a project host or creating works of art. It was, in fact, an amalgamation of the two so that every experience I laid out within the project was meaningful and impacted the audience in a different way.
Sorry about the long explanation but in writing the above post I felt I was clarifying things for myself too!
So what is The Untold Edition? You may recall I’ve written two long posts earlier on what this project is and how I have planned for. The logical question then is, why am I attempting to answer this question yet again. The reason for that is, the project evolved in unanticipated ways. I arrived in Karachi with a goal in mind and I was bombarded by ideas, possibilities and collaborations that made me rethink those meagre goals.
The overall point of the project was twofold:
- Like mentioned earlier, investigate this conjoining of my two interests
- To build a narrative of Karachi. To explore its artistic landscape. To connect to people within art and without art. To inspire, to do good and to prod change.
My initial ideas (all compiled in a document posted earlier) were to simply host a few events culminating in a final exhibition. That is not exactly how things unfolded. Reality was a bit more dynamic.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but at some point during the upheaval of losing my webpage and being part of the craze that accompanies a Pakistani wedding+eid, The Untold Edition shifted from a few simple events to a gigantic and unending series of events. The goal shifted from poking around within Karachi’s artistic landscape to bringing artists and humanitarians together on a single platform. Yup, pretty major.
To avoid going on forever I’m just going to share our project proposal.
The initial one:
The latest one:
The Untold Edition
This was my core team of supporters and helpers:
They had amazing ideas, connections and expertise to pour in and one of the greatest things about the project was meeting them.
It’s been a super exciting journey so far, though one filled with ups and downs of mood and lots and lots of stressors since organizing an event of any scale is quite a lot of work. But, as an artist, it has been the most satisfactory journey of self discovery EVER. More in the following posts!