KARACHI: The British Council has entered into a partnership with the Koel Gallery to showcase art for climate change in connection with the 75th anniversary of Pakistan.
An art exhibition under the joint venture, titled ‘Saahil Ki Kahaaniyan – Stories from the Coast’, started at the Koel Gallery on August 12 and will continue till August 19.
The exhibition features multidisciplinary works that aim to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on the coastal areas of Pakistan, particularly its fragile mangrove ecosystem, with a view to promoting sustainable coastal development.
The project is part of the British Council’s Pakistan-UK Season: New Perspectives programme to mark the 75th anniversary of Pakistan.
In February 2022, the project awarded grants to Pakistan-based artists exploring this theme through a variety of mediums, culminating in the curated exhibition.
The British Council arranged a diverse selection committee, including experts from the UK, to review applications. After a detailed vetting exercise, four creative teams were selected to work on this project.Koel Gallery Director Noorjehan Bilgrami said that such projects “will begin the process of collective research that records, investigates and disseminates the awareness of our legacy that needs to be owned, protected and treasured. It is a beginning for this exciting work to continue.”
Artist Mahera Omar presented a silent cinematic journey through a delicate wetland ecosystem on the shores of an industrial city, documenting the precious biodiversity which is in grave danger of being lost. Her project was titled, ‘Kabhi Aisay Bhi Hota Hai Ke Kinare Doob Jate Hain…’.
Marvi Mazhar, Abuzar Madhu and Swalay Muhammad presented ‘Milaap’, an exploration of the sacred geography of the urban/rural estuary where the river meets the coast, focusing on Khizr, the Darya Shah, whose coordinates are sometimes imaginary on liquid grounds in the form of astana, a promised space to protect the coast from climatic and human infrastructural ruptures.
Taqi Shaheen & Sara Khan Pathan worked on ‘The Shape of Island’, a research project to design ‘Machi Wachi’ – a board game that acts as a storytelling interface for reflection and ecological understanding about scarcity of natural resources around Bhit Island.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Janan Sindhu presented ‘Bulhan Nameh’, a series of immersive installations of fabric and video that speak of the plight of one of Pakistan’s shyest animals, the Indus River Dolphin.
British Council Arts Director Pakistan Laila Jamil said ‘Saahil Ki Kahaaniyan’ had been a very exciting project for them.
She added that the council believed art had the potential to challenge and change mindsets for a more sustainable and inclusive future.
“We are grateful to Koel Gallery for showcasing this project and to the Rangoonwala Foundation for their ongoing support for the arts in Pakistan.”