Creative festival ends on high note
KARACHI: The Creative Karachi Festival is in a privileged position to plan sessions incorporating a much broader canvas while other festivals held in the city cannot. Did it in its second year manage to harness this very strength? The answer would be a resounding yes, despite major glitches and execution issues plaguing the festival on both days.
Bringing together the community and providing them an eclectic choice to indulge their various senses in requires the ability to comprehend and predict tastes, and the CKF team brought to the fore their A-game. It began as a subdued affair but soon gained momentum and eventually attendees were scrambling to find place among the many interesting sessions lined up.
Photography, alongside several art installations and exhibitions, also attracted a large audience. “Cameras in Karachi” introduced several photographers who had documented the country through different lenses, and multiple perspectives. Danial Shah, a travel photographer, presented his photo essay, with a running oral narrative, of the Naran Valley where traffic tends to hold up several times and for long durations. His images did not just narrate a tale of winding roads and cliffhanger topography that commuters have to grapple with. It was actually the simple pleasures, out of sheer necessity, that they indulged in. On rocky roads, Shah documented the man-made crevices made into the glaciers they are surrounded by where multiple bottles, of different sizes, shapes, and purposes, are tucked away to cool while others are busy clearing the roads.
Apart from the usual dastango sessions, the art lane as well as the music performances by artists, including Rushk, Sara Haider, Zoe Viccaji and a qawaali by Subhan Nizami and Brothers, dance performances were also replete on the second day. Suhaee Abro presented a contemporary piece and also dedicated her performance to Sabeen as April 24 marks her first death anniversary, while Sheema Kirmani and other performers took a more classic route.
A mushaira was also held in the courtyard with young poetry enthusiasts sharing their poetic endeavours while some shared their attempts at translating verses from English to Urdu. Poets Attiya Dawood and Afzal Ahmed Syed, among others then also joined ranks and read out their work.
The future of graphic novels was also discussed in one session where the painstaking process of conceptualising the story, coming up with speech bubbles, and also writing a descriptive brief for the illustrator are just some of the stages, according to writer Rumana Husain. She has written and published several graphic novels such as on Rana Liaquat Ali and Fatima Jinnah and her future projects include graphic novels on Jahangir Khan and Noor Jehan which are under production and she shared a few of the incomplete sketches.
The session with writer Mohammed Hanif moderating had different writers reading out their work. On the other end Shehzad Gias, with his stand-up comedy, took the audience back to the time when Uncle Sargam was the mascot for the younger generation, and to days when children had to wake up as early as 6am for a daily dose of cartoons on the channel STN, with many unfortunately dubbed in Urdu.
Documentaries were aired throughout the day and on the while attendees felt that not much was wanting with regards to the content of both days.
However, the CKF had to contest with several variables over the weekend; the weather was exceptionally hot a result of which rooms where the sessions were being held became unbearably congested and stifling. Space constraints added to the woes of many and there seemed to be not enough space for the increasing crowds, a clear indication that for the next installation of the festival, a much larger and more inclusive space needs to be selected.