City Notebook – DIY Karachi


The terrace garden of Sobhraj Chatumal terrace brimmed with ideas on a beautiful evening in Karachi. For many people visiting Burns Garden, the terrace popularly known as Pardah Bagh is an afterthought but it was not the case during DIY Karachi’s festival.

The Karachi Walla went there around twilight which perhaps was not the best time. Few of the fixtures were unattended and people stood there confused. There were lots of people, a lot of families. Part of it was the usual crowd from Burns road that you see there every weekend and then there were others that you meet at every exhibition around the city, yourself included. Karachi is a tough city to experiment with. The divide within the city weighs heavy on many shoulders but not many succeed in bringing people of all walks to one forum. It’s great that a lot of individuals are trying to bridge the gap.

DIY Karachi is a collaboration between Numaish Karachi and Madlab, UK (Some of you may have seen Numaish’s first show at Frere hall). DIY Karachi is supported by British Council, Habib University and KMC. However despite such heavyweights on its side, the show could have benefited from better organization. A lot of installations appeared as if they were incomplete. There was a bit of confusion on how to operate one or two. They looked fantastic though. Barah Qatar, Virtual tour of the city, Sheesh Mahal in particular – an installation of lights and mirror rotating at great speed – which created hypnotic effect. Perhaps the most engaging activity was done in the far corner where children were taught how to light up and LED with the help of battery. The LED lights could be used to create a complex art piece. Some of those LED lights were pasted all across the terrace. The terrace is surrounded by some of the beautiful trees in the city. Organizers had tagged and lit up the most prominent ones to draw everyone’s attention. The Karachi Walla saw Jungle Jalebi after decades. It brought back memories.

I stepped out of the terrace. There was a party going on outside too. Kids were playing with their elders while women were sitting on the benches. The trees blossomed with flowers, a rare sign of spring in the air. I walked to the far end of the pathway which ended in front of an office. There stood buddha statues as a sign of I ‘m not sure, Pakistan’s rich heritage? Few kids on my left posed one by one in front of a forlorn caravan.


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Categories: City Notebook

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One Comment on “City Notebook – DIY Karachi”

  1. Anonymous
    July 14, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    Just passed Burns Garden and saw it in bad shape. Encroachment and construction in its precinct. Please do something about this destruction.

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