Karachi hopes for the triumph of love over weapons
KARACHI: Apart from giving hope to the people of Karachi, Hathyar Nahi Piyar wants them to stop and ponder and then change the existing narrative of the city from that of violence to one of diversity.
To implement this project, Hathyar Nahin Piyar – a brainchild of NGO Pursukoon Karachi – gathered artists, who are not particularly famous, and displayed their works against the city’s gun culture at Sattar Buksh cafe on Thursday evening. The exhibition continues till April 23.
“This initiative is part of the Pursukoon Karachi project and has branched out to several other activities,” explained Abdul Jabbar Gull, a core member of Pursukoon Karachi.
The exhibition started off from a Facebook page and managed to get together various artists who dare to dream big. “Let us dare to dream of a Karachi without violence, where love triumphs over weapons, let us demand for Hathyar Nahin Piyar!” the page proudly claims.
The exhibition wanted the artists to let go and play with parallel concepts of what life in Karachi could or should be. One thing that Karachiites still struggle to let go of is being on time and as expected the event kick started later than planned.
One of the organisers, Aliya Yousuf, did take out the time to explain what it was all about. “Since we started this project, we did many things from destroying toy guns to going to shopkeepers and convincing them to stop their sales,” said Yousuf. “Then we thought, why not let the artists express against the gun culture?”
As she walked past each and every artwork explaining the perspective of the 17 artists, Yousuf explained how they decided to include fresh graduates. “It’s hard to get rid of something so deeply embedded in our culture,” she said, referring to the use of guns as status symbol that has become part of our everyday life.
“I think artists can beautifully convey the messages that words cannot and the response from the artists has been great,” said Saadia Jamal, one of the organisers. “We want to ward off the negativity that comes through the use of guns,” she added, regretfully adding how owning a gun has become a norm.
For Anam Qadri, a 24-year-old graphic designer who designed the logo, some of the art pieces were really eerie and weird. She pointed to a piece in which two white guns, patterned with tiny hearts, are pointed at each other. “When you look at this one, all you see is love being depicted and personified in a gun,” she said.
The artists were told beforehand that their works must include guns is some form or another. “When I was told to do art on guns, I instantly thought of my four-year-old daughter and that guns must be crushed,” said artist Akhtar Moeen. His artwork was a crushed gun that was bleeding with a green apple next to it. “The apple is a human, it represents love and relationships for me.”
In Huma Ali Shah’s painting, you can see a hand with a gun shooting at another hand while the latter is stabbing the hand of former one. This just shows that we are living among people who are backstabbers and deceivers,” she said. Arshad Faruqui, the co-curator of Pursukoon Karachi Festival, said the message is quite simple and conveyed in a very peaceful way. “It exposes the ugliness of the gun culture,” he said. “Let us fight for deweaponisation in the city.” Faruqui hoped that more people would come and see the exhibition. “This is the reason why we chose such a hip place, where young people come and spend a lot of time.”