There are several things that you can do on a Sunday morning in Karachi. Watching this group of artists painting heritage buildings around Pakistan Chowk is a topmost option.
Saddar and rest of the old quarters have seen public spaces diminish over time. Parks have vanished and reading rooms vandalized. Old fashioned cafes have given way to the new markets. Shopping Malls are the new definition of public spaces. This is sign of a sick city and we know that Karachi has been suffering for a long while.
Marvi Mazhar and her team brought back Pakistan Chowk to public sphere and it is already paying dividends. It was therapeutic watching painters paint on a cold Sunday morning. One or two had already set their easels and begun sketching their view of the city while others were setting up. One of them showed me Dawn’s coverage of his last group show which took place at Arts Council. The gentleman was in his 50s but was diligent in record keeping. We shared our numbers and I promised to visit his studio in Kemari. Others had some of their finished work on them which they proudly shared with curious people who accompanied me on a day out in Karachi.
Here’s to the painters, writers, poets, book sellers, architects, photographers and others who are keeping our city alive!